Retaining Top Military and Veteran Talent

Secretary of Defense

Part 3of a special 3 part series:

Finding the right veteran talent requires a solid military talent recruiting strategy with an executable and measurable plan. Interviewing veteran and military talent requires a certain level of expertise in military skills translations, understanding military lingo, and even interpreting the DD 214. The bottom line is this; finding the right military talent for the right position requires hundreds of man-hours in the recruiting, screening, interviewing, and hiring process.  Unfortunately, all that time and energy is lost when retention rates are low.

Here are some key takeaways for an effective veteran retention strategy.

Onboarding:

Effective onboarding allows new hires to get adjusted to the culture of the company and understand performance aspects of their job quickly and easily. It allows them to learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within your organization.  Effective onboarding includes:

  • Giving the veteran a written plan of objectives and responsibilities. Within the military culture, this is an expectation.
  • Conducting formal orientations.
  • Introducing the new employee to the team. Veterans need to feel like they belong to the team.
  • Assigning a veteran mentor to capitalize on the brother and sisterhood that exists within the military profession.
  • Indoctrinating the veteran into the company’s culture, mission, and values.
  • Addressing questions or concerns immediately.
  • Being aware of physical limitations, should they exist.
  • Motivating veterans by giving them purpose and direction.

meetingVeteran Resource Group:

A great way to support your veteran employees is to create a veteran employee resource group. The purpose of the veteran employee resource group is to share knowledge across the organization in every aspect of recruiting, hiring, retaining and recognizing the veteran population. Here are ways the veteran resource group can help:

  • Assist in developing veteran hiring strategies.
  • Recognize veteran employees during company events.
  • Coordinating observations of Veterans Day, Memorial Day activities, and service birthdays.
  • Providing assistance, through care packages, phone cards, letter writing and all other means of support, to those currently deployed.
  • Support current National Guard and Reserve members.
  • Mentor veterans who recently left the service.
  • Generating support for veteran hospitals and homeless shelters.
  • Develop organizational partnerships with veteran service organizations.
  • Provide moral and psychological support for your veteran employees as needed.
  • Involve the veteran’s family.

national guard and reservesSupport Guard and Reserve Members:

First and foremost, being a member of the National Guard or Reserve should not be a hiring deterrent. Second, the best way your organization can support your country is by supporting your National Guard and Reserve employees. It’s important to foster a culture in which your company supports and values the employment and military service of members of the Reserve Component.

It is not only the right thing to do to support guard and reserve military personnel, it’s also the law! Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), employers have specific obligations to support their Reserve Component members.

  • The law guarantees the right to take time off from work to meet your military responsibilities during weekend drills and annual training.
  • A military member who leaves a civilian job for voluntary or involuntary service for extended periods of time is entitled to reemployment in the civilian job (with accrued seniority) if he or she meets certain criteria.
  • Discrimination in hiring is unlawful. It is also unlawful to fire someone for being in the National Guard or Reserve, or to discriminate with respect to promotions or other benefits of employment.
  • It is unlawful for you to make the employee use vacation time while in the performance of military duty.
  • You are not required to pay an individual for time not worked due to service, although many organizations do.

Communication is the key to a lasting partnership between the service member, your company, and the military unit. Here are others ways to help your current guard and reserve employees:

  • Learn more about the role of the National Guard and Reserve. Attend open houses and public functions at local military units. Talk about the National Guard and Reserve with military and civilian leaders in your community.
  • Get to know your employees’ military commanders and supervisors. Ask them to provide you with advance notice of their annual military duty schedule.
  • Provide the service member the time and flexibility to perform his or her military duties.
  • Put your support in writing by signing a Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve. Publicly show your support and appreciation for all those who serve.

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Military veterans are a loyal, hard-working, and well trained group of individuals that will enhance an organization’s ability to accomplish its mission. But loyalty only goes so far and veterans will stay with your company if you give them a reason to stay by keeping them busy, giving them focus, and above all, purpose.

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Employees turn-over is expensive, but Forward March Inc., has the solution for keeping veteran employees engaged. Companies with strong veteran cultures enjoy many benefits to include greater productivity and professionalism as well as higher referral rates. We can help your organization develop a very strong veteran culture with both new and existing veteran employees. If your organization is up to the challenge, FMI has your back!

Forward March Inc Military Hiring Guide

Forward March Inc Military Hiring Guide

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

National American Gold Star Mother’s Day

 “Perpetuating the Noble Principles for which They Fought and Died”

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Sunday, September 28th is National American Gold Star Mother’s Day.   The American Gold Star Mothers Inc. was formed in 1936, just after World War I supporting mothers who have lost a son or daughter in war.

The name of the organization comes from the tradition of hanging a banner or Service Flag in the window of a home of families of servicemen. The flag would show a star for each family member in the U.S. Armed Forces serving in war. A blue star represented living military service members; a gold star represented those who had lost their life in battle.

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Membership in this socially active non political organization is open to any American woman who has lost a son or daughter in service to the United States in the Armed Forces. God Star Mother’s Day is observed in America in their honor.

You can learn more about their organization here.

Every American should remember with gratitude and honor, the lives of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. This weekend make sure to remember and honor the mothers of our fallen warriors.

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If you are looking for tools and resources to help with employment or other services for military transitioners and veterans alike, we are always updating our tools and resources page which you can access here. 

Hiring Military and Veteran Talent

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Part 2 of a special 3 part series:

Hiring Military and Veteran Talent

Attracting military talent can be an overwhelming task, especially for those organizations that do not understand military culture, but attracting military talent is only part of the puzzle. The second piece is the military veteran hiring process.

Here are four things to think about when hiring veterans.

Screening Military Talent.

Often, military resumes can be confusing and too easily dismissed by recruiters and hiring managers.   So what exactly is a Yeoman or a Boatswain Mate in the Navy? What does an Air Battle Manager in the Air Force do? How do the skills of an Army Infantryman translate into civilian skills? What does a Marine Corps Basic Field Artilleryman bring to the table?

Veterans from each branch of service will be given a job specialty and in some cases, more than one job specialty. Many of these jobs transfer directly to civilian occupations, such as a human resource specialist or a lab technician. Some other military specialties may not. The bottom line here is that these are merely the jobs that the service member went to school to learn, and do not paint the whole picture of the intangible skills a veteran possesses.

Let’s go back to the Army Infantryman, for example, and break down a typical career. While it’s true, an infantryman might not be a direct fit for a specific job in your organization, many of the skills and education he receives over the course of a career are invaluable. Sometimes we need to look beyond titles.

A senior infantryman, over his career, has led hundreds of people in the most demanding and chaotic of situations imaginable. This person most likely completed a special duty assignment as a recruiter, drill sergeant, or instructor. He might have performed career enhancing positions such as an equal opportunity advisor, doctrine writer, or advisor to a foreign military. He may have even completed congressional fellowships and been assigned to Capitol Hill, or might have even worked on a Commanding General’s staff. He has attended dozens of professional military education courses or even cross trained into other military specialties. He most likely has a graduate degree. So as you can see, an infantryman at face value might not be a good fit, but when you peel back his various assignments and accomplishments, it’s clear that the individual is bringing a lot to the table.

Instead of filing military resumes into the trash, take the time to look at them and truly understand what it means to serve our great nation. Don’t dismiss applicants simply because they are veterans; embrace their service, support our troops, and schedule them for an interview.

Interviewing Military Talent

Now that we have tackled the screening process, let’s move into the interview. I am sure, at this point, the resume has generated more questions than answers, and that is perfectly acceptable. After all, that’s what the interview is all about.

Perhaps the best way for an interviewer to understand what a veteran did while in the military is to use a technique called behavioral event interviewing. This technique asks the candidate to describe situations and experiences they had while in the service. The answers to these questions cannot be rehearsed ahead of time and allows the veteran to open up about their military experience. Their answers will also help the interviewer find how their experiences and background will fit into the culture of the organization.

Example of questions an interviewer might ask:

  • Tell me about a time in the Air Force where you really stepped up to a challenge, offered an innovative solution, or took a high risk that paid off.
  • Tell me about a project or task in the Navy where you found yourself having to react to a major unexpected obstacle or change. What was the situation and what did you do?
  • Tell me about a time in the Marine Corps you worked on a project where a very diverse group of people were brought together to achieve a common goal.
  • I see on your resume, you attended the Army’s Warrior Leader Course. What did you take away from that training and how does it apply to this organization?
  • Your resume stated you were a Platoon Sergeant in the Marine Corps. What exactly is a Platoon Sergeant?
  • What additional military training and experience do you have, that would make you a good fit for our organization?
Forward March Inc Military Hiring Guide

The Forward March Inc Military Talent Hiring Guide can be customized for your organization.

Verifying Prior Service

The primary means of verifying an applicant’s veteran status is by viewing the Department of Defense Form 214, or DD 214, as is it commonly called.  The DD 214 is basically a one page document that covers a service member’s entire career. It includes information such as their rank, military specialty, awards, schools attended, periods of service, and type of discharge. Since the DD 214 is filled with all sorts of codes, and phrases, this single document is a great source for interview questions.

When a service member is separated from the military, they are given two copies of the DD 214: a long version, or Member Copy, and a short form. The long form has specific information in regard to the type of discharge the veteran was given.

Employers can ask for copies of the DD 214 as a means of verifying prior service. Be cautious of how your hiring managers use the information as it could become an EO issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Veteran’s Administration, and the Department of Labor are all on the same page when it comes to asking for the DD 214. Asking a veteran, “Did you receive an Honorable or General Discharge?” is fine. Asking the reason for discharge, however, can pose a problem. Suppose a veteran received an honorable discharge but was separated for a medical reason. Asking why that veteran was discharged would force them to expose a medical condition, which in turn could lead to discrimination in hiring.

If the veteran applicant served in the National Guard, he or she will be given a similar form as the DD 214 called the National Guard Bureau Form 22 or NGB 22.

Our Camouflage to Corporate Conference can get you on the fast track to developing a Veteran Talent Pipeline. November 17th, San Antonio, Texas.

We can get you on the fast track to developing a Veteran Talent Pipeline. November 17th, San Antonio, Texas.

Military Talent Employment Laws, Rules, and Regulations

For companies that are committed to hiring veterans, not only are they getting top talent that is motivated, well-educated, and full of leadership potential, but there are many other incentives. Companies that hire veterans receive tax breaks, have employees with educational benefits, and see reduced manpower costs. Here are some key protocols in regard to veteran hiring.

  • Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) prohibits discrimination against veterans and requires federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ veterans.
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the jobs of guard and reserve members called to active duty.
  • Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (VOW Act) provides tax credits to companies that hire unemployed and wounded veterans.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes nondiscrimination practices for the employment of people with disabilities to include disabled veterans.
  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.

Finding, attracting, hiring, and retaining military talent is a skill that companies looking for the highest caliber employees simply must have. Forward March not only trains top companies to do this, but we have also created a Military Talent Hiring Guide that teaches organizations the basics of military talent acquisition and retention. If your organization is truly dedicated to hiring veterans, leave it to FMI to help make it happen. Click here and take the next step by attending out upcoming Camouflage to Corporate event and gain the skills needed to achieve your veteran hiring goals.

MILITARY HIRING 101 EVENT

Did you know that Forward March Inc also has conducts Hiring 101 Events which will give you the information and tools you need to succeed in hiring the very best military candidates. Our highly successful solutions are based on the proven military leadership models and a systematic approach to organizational growth. Learn more here. 

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

Presidential Proclamation — National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week, 2014

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NATIONAL EMPLOYER SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE WEEK, 2014

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On the eve of our Nation’s birth, a courageous people stood up to the tyranny of an empire and declared their independence.  They proclaimed the values of equality and justice and fought a revolution to secure them.  In 13 colonies, farmers and tradesmen laid their lives on the line, picked up arms, and answered their new country’s call to defend freedom.

Throughout our history, patriotic Americans have always stepped up in our Nation’s time of need.  It is in this spirit that our National Guard and Reserve members carry forward a proud legacy of service and sacrifice.  This week, we honor all those who stand ready to defend our way of life and the families, employers, and communities who support them.

More than 1 million citizen-Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen serve our country in the National Guard and Reserve.  They live in our communities and work in our cities and towns.  We know them as our teachers, coaches, and doctors — but when a crisis strikes or the strength of our military is needed, they leave the comfort of their civilian lives to protect our Nation.  Members of the Guard and Reserve have responded to disasters at home and have served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our country is grateful to all our Guardsmen and Reservists and the employers who stand behind them and their families.  By providing workplace flexibility and helping the advancement of their civilian careers, employers ease the burden on those who serve and their loved ones.  And we appreciate all our country’s businesses that go above and beyond in small and large ways to recognize our patriots.  We know that when it comes to supporting our Nation’s heroes, everybody can do something — every business, every school, and every American.

The United States has a profound obligation to care for those who serve in our Armed Forces, and my Administration will keep providing unprecedented support to the members of our military.  We have increased access to Federal education benefits for service members and their loved ones and worked to improve our veterans health care system.  This year, in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, we launched the Veterans Employment Center, an online tool that connects veterans, transitioning service members, and their families with employers who are seeking to leverage their skills and talents.  It is the first Government-wide program to bring career resources and job opportunities together in one place.  My Administration will keep engaging all sectors of society to give our military communities the support they have earned.

During National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week, we salute the heroes in our everyday lives.  As a Nation, let us renew our commitment to serve the families who represent the best of America as well as they serve us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 21 through September 27, 2014, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.  I call upon all Americans to join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers.  I also call on State and local officials, private organizations, and all military commanders, to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this  nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

– BARACK OBAMA

(re-posted from The White House website here)

Attracting Military and Veteran Talent

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Part 1 of a special 3 part series:

So you’re looking for the perfect candidate to fill critical positions within your organization. You’re looking for someone who is hardworking, well-educated and an expert planner. You’re looking for someone who has a “mission first” attitude and has a proven ability to face adversity with positive outcomes. You have in mind a candidate that understands and practices diversity in the workplace and who has a respect for policies, procedures, and regulations. You ask yourself, does this perfect candidate even exist? The answer is a resounding YES! The perfect candidate is the American military veteran.

So now that you have identified who the perfect candidate is, the next question is how to find them? Drawing military and veteran talent starts with developing a military hiring strategy. Here are five practices to help your organization attract veterans.

  1. Develop a solid military recruiting strategy. Developing a strategy begins with the company’s vision. This should be a top down driven initiative with specific, measurable, and achievable goals that the entire organization understands. Once a plan is made, recruiters and hiring managers must then be trained and resourced to execute the plan. Furthermore, performance reviews should be tied to veteran hiring performance to ensure continued success.
  1. Leverage existing veteran employees. What better way to attract veterans than engaging current employees who have served. They have not only talked the talk, they have walked the walk. They understand the military transition process and can assist in military skills interpretation and veteran interviewing. The bottom line is this: a brother and sisterhood exists within the veteran population. Veterans who believe in their organization want to share it with others.
  1. Market your organization as the veteran employer of choice.  Building your organization’s brand as a veteran friendly company is key to military hiring success. Part of this branding is leveraging current veteran employees and telling their success stories within the company. Create military specific brochures and other military marketing collateral when attending military hiring functions and use veteran employees as recruiters at such events. Create a veteran hiring site on your company webpage. Send veteran applicants a separate email thanking them for their service when they apply. Make veterans feel welcomed before they even step foot in your company.
  1. Get engaged with the military community. In order to find the veteran employee population, your organization must be engaged in the veteran community. Establish partnerships with non-profit veteran organizations such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars. Get to know people at local military transition centers and make routine visits to reach out to those leaving military service. Establish relationships with local National Guard and Reserve units. Encourage employees to get involved with volunteer programs supporting veterans.
  2. Don’t forget about military spouses. When developing a veteran recruiting and hiring strategy, do not forget about the military spouse. Although they do not wear the uniform, they possess many skills employers are looking for. Just like the service member, the military spouse is flexible, adaptive to change, conscious of cultural and regional differences, and focused on getting the job done.
We have been helping companies hire veterans for over 35 years!

We have been helping companies hire veterans for over 35 years!

Attracting military talent can be an overwhelming task, especially for those organizations that do not understand military culture. Forward March’s team has over 110 years of combined military experience with over 35 years dedicated specifically to hiring veterans. FMI can train your staff to attract, hire, and retain top military talent. We have a comprehensive Military Talent Hiring Guide and outstanding training that can get your department staffing positions very quickly. We can also help you to develop a pipeline and hiring strategy for success and train your human resource department on all the best ways to recruit military talent. If your company is committed to hiring military veterans, let FMI show you how.

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

Growing Your Military Talent Pipeline

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Camouflage to Corporate Conference Series
Growing Your Military Talent Pipeline

November 17th in San Antonio, Texas!

If you want a more productive, motivated and focused staff then get ready!  Forward March Inc. will be hosting our Camouflage to Corporate Conference in November!

We have spoken a lot on our news page recently about the benefits to companies who hire veteran talent. Make sure you check out some of our recent articles on this subject.

Also make sure to check out the outstanding document from Syracuse University on a Business Case to Hire a Veteran. 

IMG_1909Our Camouflage to Corporate conference, will give you the information and tools you need to succeed in hiring the very best military candidates.  Forward March Inc is uniquely qualified to bring you successful solutions based on the proven military leadership model and a systematic approach to organizational growth.  With over thirty five years of collective experience our professional team will help you to understand how to find, attract, hire, and retain high quality veteran talent.

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This outstanding conference is consistently met with great success for those who attend as our team brings a unique and proven solution set to your organization with training that is unparalleled in the industry.

– Develop a military hiring strategy that wins

– Learn a tactical and practical approach to attract, hire, and retain the best

– Get results with military leadership in your workforce

– Learn from and network with military hiring experts and organizations, with over 40 years of military hiring experience

– Learn the latest techniques, tactics and procedures for building a winning team

– Learn to improve Workspace to Workplace – reception and integration

– Learn more about the Forward March Inc Customized Military Hiring Guide and solutions that can benefit your company or organization by making the process of finding, attracting, hiring and retaining veteran talent much easier

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Our mission at Forward March, Inc. is to educate and engage employers, educators, and organizations about the development of a successful military and veteran hiring and retention strategy. We can assist you in networking and partnerships with veteran-friendly agencies so you can develop operational strategies for 2014 and beyond.

Our unwavering commitment is always for our veterans. We are a company of veterans helping veterans. Our commitment likewise extends to:

– Supporting our transitioning military members

– Supporting our civilian partners

– Providing outstanding customer service

If your company is serious about hiring veterans and enjoying the benefits of a strong veteran talent pipeline then you owe it to yourself to sign up for this exciting Camouflage to Corporate conference TODAY.

Camouflage to Corporate conference – San Antonio
Growing your Military Talent Pipeline – 2014

Date: Monday – November 17th

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Learn more and register today here… Camouflage to Corporate conference. Space is limited!