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.
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.
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.
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 representatives from the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Find your local Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve representative on their website.
- 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.
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.
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!
~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services