Tips for Honoring Veterans on Veterans Day - Part 2
During a recent conversation with a large employer about their veteran recruiting strategy, I asked, “How does your company celebrate Veterans Day?”
The employer replied, “We have a special lunch offer in our cafeteria, we make a donation to a local veteran organization, and we recognize those who’ve served in the weekly email newsletter. It’s important to us to thank those who have served.”
While I applauded their acknowledgement of the importance of Veterans Day, I was disappointed. Offering a lunch special and sending an email blast didn’t seem like enough recognition or appreciation of the men and women who commit to military service and protect our freedom.
How Much is Enough?
Regardless of the size of company, or the amount of available resources, I believe we can all find a meaningful way to recognize and show gratitude to those who’ve worn the uniform of our Armed Forces.
For example, I’m a small business owner myself. I run a global marketing and branding firm and my resources are limited. How do I celebrate Veterans Day? I give. I give of my time, talent, expertise and heart to veterans in transition.
All year long, I look for more opportunities to say “yes” when I’m asked to speak at a military installation on the topic of reintegration, or brainstorm techniques to retain veteran talent with an employer, or coach a recently-transitioned veteran through an upcoming job interview. When it feels like it gets “too hard” on my resources or time, I remind myself that the only reason I’m able to build a successful business in this country is because of their sacrifice. And, I give more.
Acknowledging veterans on Veterans Day does not require a lot of money or even time. It does require thought and care. Companies can start by understanding their motivation, their story and their brand: Why is thanking veterans important to us as a company? How are we connected to the military world?
Then, a game plan can form. When you start the planning from your company’s “why” (values, vision and mission), you anchor your behavior in authentic motivation, not publicity or business gain.
How much time does this take? To show appreciation for those who’ve served can take time if you commit to a large mentoring program, or attend conferences and events where you have the opportunity to interact with veterans face-to-face. But, the effort can also be small and still meaningful: Why not share insights and tips with veterans via video or webinar? Or mentor a veteran for two hours a month. The impact can be significant!
Is Service in Your Company’s Heart?
Successful business leaders often admit they get more when they give more. Business tycoon, Warren Buffet said it best when he stated, “If you're in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.” Buffett speaks to the fact that when we serve others, we serve ourselves, because our service makes the world a better place.
Companies and individuals that commit to acknowledging and appreciating the gifts they are afforded – from freedom, to rights, to choice – can look for easy, or ambitious, ways to pay it forward and serve those who’ve served, including those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice for our great Nation.
To veterans reading this, thank you for my freedom, and thank you for your sacrifice and service to this country.
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