“We need to do our part to explain to HR leaders that veterans possess the skills to help organizations thrive.” – David Sutherland, cofounder and chair of the Center for Military and Veterans Community Services at the Easter Seals Dixon Center.
Last February, first lady Michelle Obama announced that more than 100 construction companies will hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. This is an effort to combat the elevated unemployment rates for veterans, which are often discouragingly high, even when they are trending upward, especially for post-9/11 veterans.
These unemployment rates don’t reflect lack of skill or ability. Rather, veterans are trained unlike any other candidate. Considering they are some of the most highly experienced candidates, veterans should be front-runners in your talent pool. Veterans come to your organization equipped with essential understanding of and experience in discipline, leadership, and specialized training.
A disciplined work ethic is a characteristic that 63 percent of employers look for in candidates. This is a trait most veterans already possess due to their prior service. Employers don’t have to train or manage a new hires work ethic if they already have the discipline to stay on task while in the office. This heightened sense of integrity will help to ensure projects are completed by their assigned deadlines.
Seasoned veterans undergo many years of leadership training and classes in order to supervise those they oversee. As leaders, veterans also understand what it means to be part of a team. Regardless of race, creed, gender, or religion, veterans have had to work closely with groups composed of all types of people. They are trained to accomplish goals as a team. More importantly, they are trained in diversity leadership, as 40 percent of Army Reserve soldiers alone are minorities, and a further 23 percent are women.
Veterans are trained in the art of adaptability. Working under pressure, they are able to make decisions in a limited amount of time. This makes training not only easier, but also quicker. The combination of a veteran’s ability to adapt and their intrinsic respect for procedures creates an exceedingly quick learning curve. Matthew Thompson, cofounder and COO at ID.me, told Forbes: “Startups have to be adaptive to market forces and outmaneuver competition. Veterans learned maneuver tactics the hard way, in unforgiving places like the mountains of Afghanistan or the deserts of Iraq.”
Technology and Globalization
Military veterans experience some of the most sophisticated technological training around. Tech training and military assignments have taken veterans all around the globe, rendering them efficient in local and global technology. The skills veterans gain while in the service are directly transferable to the civilian world. It is because of this that 71 percent of veterans feel prepared to enter the civilian workforce.
A veteran’s leadership experience and training makes them capable of both directing teams and working as part of the team. Their extensive discipline training makes their work ethic unparalleled, and their ability to make decisions in limited amounts of time create an accelerated learning curve. Given their experience with cutting edge technology, it stands to reason that veterans are adept in learning the newest devices.
There’s no better time to recognize some of the rather precipitous employment challenges veterans face after they leave military. Be a part of the 66 percent of employers who say they are more likely to hire a veteran over another candidate. Do this not simply because they are veterans, but because their extensive training and experience that qualifies them for the job.
What has your company done to expand the possibilities for military veterans entering the civilian workforce?