When veterans return from serving our country, many find it challenging to find employment in the corporate world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, young male veterans ages 18 to 24 had a 29.1 percent unemployment rate while nonveterans of the same age had a 17.6 percent unemployment rate in March 2012. The staggering veteran unemployment statistics over the past few years caused the White House to launch an initiative encouraging businesses to hire veterans and the Department of Labor to create a toolkit for employers on employing them.
Benefits of Hiring Veterans
Many companies find that veterans make exceptional employees because of their life experience, leadership skills and training. The Interface Financial Group offers discounts for both for setup and maintenance fees for veteran franchisees and has found the maturity that veterans have typically translates into success in the business world. “Veterans are very well trained and are able to follow a specific system our franchises use,” says David Banfield, Interface Financial Group President.
While on active duty, service men and women deal with many different circumstances that require them to be very adaptable. Frank Strong, Director of Public Relations for Vocus and PRWeb, who served overseas with the Army National Guard, said that the problem-solving skills learned in the military apply to the civilian workforce anywhere from customer service and support to data analysis and decision making.
Additionally, your business may be eligible for up to $4,800 in tax benefits for each veteran you employ through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Targeting Recruitment Efforts to Veterans
One of the best ways to recruit veterans for your open positions is to post your job on the Veterans Job Bank, a national effort to help connect veterans with veteran-friendly employers. PostNet is using the job bank to help hire 100 veterans for their company with a goal of 150 by 2014. The company adds tags to their job posting that correlates their requirements into military experience to help increase veterans targeting their company.
Hiring Our Heroes also has a job bank, and a customer service representative will even help you craft a veteran-friendly job post. Other places to post your opening are on RecruitMilitary’s Resume Database and Job Board. You can search for candidates on VetSuccess. Career fairs for veterans are another way to meet veterans seeking employment. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting over 400 Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fairs this year and RecruitMilitary is also hosting career fairs around the county.
When writing position descriptions, be sure to include military terms and position titles to help veterans target your company. Use the COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) websites for Army and Navy personnel to determine the military equivalent terminology for job positions, training and certifications. Carefully review the applicant’s job experience and consider how their experience and skills can apply to your needs.
Helping Veterans Transition Successfully
Once you hire a veteran, it is essential to provide the support and training to help them transition successfully to the corporate world. The culture in the armed forces is very different than the corporate culture. The military has a clear chain of command, duties and structure.
“The civilian workforce tends to be more ambiguous. The chain of command is not always obvious and can be somewhat confusing (even for those with no military experience). The work environment may be flexible some days and not on others, and there is not always a standard or equal path to move up the career ladder,” states the America’s Heroes at Work Toolkit for Employers.
Be sure to clearly explain your office culture, expectations and duties. One of the ways that IFG has helped veterans transition is to pair them through a formal mentoring program with another veteran. “Our veteran-owned franchises seem to move forward very quickly. We find that with mentoring, things happen faster,” Banfield says.
While many professionals change jobs often, service men and women make years-long commitments. “It takes a lot to recruit and train new people–that’s true for any organization, especially small businesses. Taking a chance on a veteran just might yield you the most loyal employee you’ve ever had,” Strong says.
Jennifer Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via Contently.com.