Why Hiring Veterans is Good for Business and for America
By Kimberly Kafafian
With July 4th upon us, we can’t help but think of those who have made our freedom possible. We celebrate them with parades, firework shows, and barbeques. But, how can we give back to them? How can we show our appreciation for everything they have sacrificed for our country? I believe one way we can thank a veteran is to help them transition into civilian life by hiring them. It’s good for the soul, good for the country, and, quite honestly, it’s also good for business.
Nearly 200,000 transitioning service members enter civilian life each year. And the experience these veterans gained during their time in the military makes them ideal candidates for all types of positions, in all kinds of businesses, of all sizes. Unfortunately, many employers look at the resume of a veteran and are unable to see how the skills and training these men and women received can benefit their business. This is a terrible lost opportunity, for the hiring company and the veteran. As a human resource professional with 20+ years’ experience, I’m here to explain how those military job descriptions translate into real, practical capabilities that can boost your bottom line and help you address your hiring and retention challenges.
During their military careers, veterans acquire a wide variety of expertise and skill sets that they can bring to organizations, which can enhance performance and culture.
As military personnel rise up in the ranks, they take on more leadership roles. Even those as young as their early 20s may be training and overseeing teams. During their time in the military, they are making decisions, planning, and providing guidance to their subordinates. So when you hire a veteran, you are gaining a worker with real-life leadership skills already in place.
No man is an island in the military. In the end, it’s all about the team working together toward a common goal. While military personnel are encouraged to take initiative, their duties are a blend of individual and group productivity. In addition, they learn how groups relate to each other in relation to an overarching objective.
Since their first day in the military, veterans were being trained. And, over the course of their military career, they are expected to continuously learn and develop – from following orders and completing tasks to taking initiative and responsibility. Trainability and ownership are traits you want in your workforce.
As mentioned above, the military builds leaders. How do they do that? By training recruits to analyze all information before making a decision. This training has afforded veterans the ability to make the best choice available when looking at the options.
Business is all about setting goals – project, production, sales. The military is extremely focused on goal achievement. Their members are trained to concentrate on the mission at hand and then work together as a team to achieve the targeted goal.
Studies show that veterans’ contributions to a company boost performance and reduce costs. One such study found that, on average, veterans perform at higher levels and are less likely to leave a company. According to the CEB Corporate Leadership Council, “for a company of 1,000 employees with 25 percent military veteran new hires, cost savings amounted to a whopping $325,000 per year.”
Veterans Are an Untapped Talent Pool
According to the Department of Labor, there were 386,000 unemployed military veterans across the United States last year. That number, combined with the couple hundred thousand members leaving the military every year, is quite a large potential pool of talent to pull from – something to seriously consider in this current hiring crisis. And when you add in the skills and work ethic associated with this group, you have untapped prospective workers that are good for your business. Plus, you will be helping a veteran make use of the skills they acquired in a civilian role, while at the same time decrease the unemployment numbers.
So during this time when you are feeling a bit patriotic, I urge you to think beyond the barbeques and fireworks celebrations and consider how hiring a veteran can simultaneously help them and your bottom line.
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