Truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.
There is an array of resources available to help companies connect their civilian career openings with veterans. However, this can be a huge obstacle -- there are so many resources that employers can become overwhelmed when determining where to go, whom to talk to, and whether resources are trustworthy. Rather than conduct a search for possible connections and then wonder if the agency is trustworthy, employers can educate their own hiring staff and leadership from the start.
Educate Your Staff
Education services should focus on the most critical issues and opportunities within veteran programs, whether your program is new or trying to improve what is already in place. You can only create a proper hiring program if you understand the talent that you are bringing into your organization. In helping to break down the stereotypes and common misconceptions that the civilian workforce has about the branches of service, you can increase your veteran populace and show the community that you are making the valiant effort.
The following are the steps to create a veteran-friendly hiring environment:
- Educate your senior leadership on veteran backgrounds/hiring
- Create a team of veteran recruiters through education
- Train your recruiting staff/sales staff
- Market your company to veterans
- Hire and retain your veterans
- Educate your employees to create an Employee Resource Group
Also consider the following topics as you work towards fulfilling the above steps:
- Veteran skills translation: Our veterans bring an astonishing collection of skills to any position. Understanding how these skills can translate to your job categories is a vital step toward effectively hiring veterans in your workplace.
- Veteran education: Who has a bachelor's, master's, or PhD? What is the CCAF?
- Veteran roles: A veteran can be placed into ANY role in your organization. Positions do not need to be created FOR veterans.
- Understand a veteran's background: Every branch of the service is different, and every rank is commiserate with a grade in the military.
- Market to veterans: Where do veterans look for positions? Why would a veteran want to work for your company?
- How to properly onboard a veteran: What is the process to ensure a veteran is brought into your organization in a proper fashion?
- Work to retain veterans: What can you do to retain your veteran once you hire one?
- Military culture and values: Being in the military is a way of life. Today, less than 1 percent of our nation's population is currently serving, but veterans make up 8 percent of the US population, and when you include military families, that's a total of 20 percent of our population.
- What each branch of the service is responsible for: Understand the mission roles of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps.
- The different ranks and grades: What separates an enlisted from an officer? How do you recognize the rank and grade associated?
- How to recognize varying job titles and positions: What is an Airman, Commander or a Platoon Leader?
- How to educate recruiters on unfamiliar terms: Deployment, DD214, MOS, NCO, JMO
What Veterans Bring to the Table:
- Attention to detail: In the military, forgetting details can lead to more than financial consequences
- Leadership traits: Second to none
- Performance/balance under pressure: When the going gets tough, veterans become tougher, and no corporate role can match that
- Accustomed to/welcome diversity: Veterans are groomed to work well with all walks of life -- stateside or overseas
- Integrity: Veterans are trained to do the right thing, even when not being supervised
- Process-oriented: When it comes to rules and regulations, a veteran is trained to execute with precision
- Proactive: You never have to ask a veteran twice
- Creative thinking: Veterans may be disciplined, but thinking outside the box under pressure is mission-critical
- Professionalism: Customs & courtesies tied with etiquette are skills that will not go unnoticed in a well-trained veteran
Additional Considerations and Benefits:
- OFCCP Audit: There are benchmarks for hiring veterans that your company must meet when dealing with the Federal Government, and more companies are involved than one may think. Failing to meet these standards can lead to monetary penalties, public scrutiny and possible program cessation in extreme scenarios.
- The Returning Heroes Tax Credit: Tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans.
- Short-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks.
- Long-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
- The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit: This tax credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.
- Maintain the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities (currently the maximum is $4,800).
- A new credit of 40 percent of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed longer than 6 months