Hiring Veterans Feel – Good Lip Service or a True Call to Action?

52nd activates 497th Engineer Company

Many employers want to hire veterans, its a much smaller number that successfully employ veterans in meaningful careers.

Here at Forward March, Incorporated, we have seen the headlines among many media outlets that company XYZ has agreed to hire veterans. The stories provide captivating pictures of CEOs directing their hiring manager to bring veterans into the organization. These companies really and truly care about our nation’s veterans but, for many not much happens after the cameras are turned off.

After the dust of the media hype settles, human resource departments, for a variety of reasons, continue to pass over Resumes that indicate prior military service.   Those outstanding and more than qualified applicants are not even called in for an interview. The rate of veteran unemployment still hovers well above that of the civilian population.

One of the many reasons veteran hiring still remains low is the fact that misconception runs rampant across corporate America about our nation’s treasures. Many hiring managers have unfounded concerns about Post Traumatic Stress or other combat related injuries. There are concerns over skills translation and how an infantryman might fit into a management position. Many hiring managers feel that serving in the military makes one too rigid and unable to deal with change. The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is, today’s military is the most educated, technologically advanced, disciplined, and adaptable military in the world. The skills and attributes veterans bring to the table are immeasurable. All they need is the opportunity to shine.

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans Military Families study, The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran, Beyond the Clichés, looks past the myths and lays out a compelling argument on why organizations should welcome veterans with open arms.   According to the study, “Academic research from the fields of business, psychology, sociology, and decision-making strongly links characteristics that are generally representative of military veterans to enhanced performance and organizational advantage in the context of a competitive and dynamic business environment”.   In other words, veterans bring an immeasurable value to an organization through the applied use of leadership, trust, adaptability, and an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit.

Another reason veteran hiring is falling behind, is that talk is really is cheap. It’s one thing to stand and proudly say, “We will hire veterans”; it’s another thing altogether to roll up the sleeves and work on a serious commitment to make it happen. The bottom line; it does not happen without a plan.   The plan starts at the top with the CEO’s vision for supporting veterans. From there, hiring managers must develop a specific, measurable, and achievable veteran hiring strategy. The third piece is to train and resource recruiters to go after the veteran population with managers tracking progress through various matrices and making adjustments every step of the way. The second and third pieces of this initiative are where many companies fail to meet their commitment. Developing a veteran hiring strategy and training resource recruiters is not a task which is easy for a company to do without outside help.

Veterans and military members say what they mean and mean what they say. Unfortunately, we can’t always expect the same from corporate America. Good intentions do not change anything, but a well-executed plan does. Fortunately Forward March Inc. can show your organization how to tackle negative misconceptions and how to execute a veteran hiring strategy. Through our Military Hiring 101 training, we will support your organization in developing a successul plan to find the right veterans, with the right skill sets, at the right time. With over 35 years of collective experience bringing veterans and companies together we can train your resource recruiters to find and engage the veteran population. We are in the business of building winning teams and we will do the same for you. Talk to us about our veteran talent pipeline services. We offer solutions that are customized to your company or organization and are scalable to ensure you meet your objectives.

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