When a military veteran finds your company's website or passes your building and sees that logo you spent so much money and time coming up with, what goes through their mind? The preferred answer is that they recognize you as a company supportive of veterans, one that does what it can to demonstrate to the veteran community that you care. Is your company a place that current veteran employees are proud to be associated with?
When looking to establish your veteran "brand" and be known as a veteran-friendly business, consider the following questions:
- What benefits are you offering to the military community? Home Depot has a program that assists veterans in repairing their homes. Every Veterans Day you can find a list of companies offering Veterans Day discounts, and plenty of companies offer ongoing discounts and benefits. For example, Disneyland has been known to offer free or discounted entry to active duty military occasionally, and 24-Hour Fitness has a discount for active duty military and veterans. While some of deals available may seem insubstantial to others, when we're struggling to get the VA to respond to our disability claims, every little bit helps us feel appreciated.
- Do you have any veteran-owned businesses in your supply chain? There are multiple ways to find veteran-owned businesses, including VeteransDirectory.com, and the VA offers a way to verify whether a company is truly veteran-owned. Plenty of veterans are starting businesses and would love to do business with you.
- How are you using your PR to ensure veterans are aware of your efforts? Item 1 and 2 above would be perfect for listing on your website or through part of a grander PR campaign, and making the effort to get the word out there is certainly one way to show us you care. Military.com has a page that lists companies and what they are doing for the military community, for example. Yes, veterans know companies do not always act truly altruistically, but at risk of repeating this one too many times – it's showing that you care that matters.
- Who do you send to meet with veterans? If your company is attending job fairs, especially veteran job fairs, send an employee that is a veteran or someone you know is able to represent your passion for hiring veterans. Recruiters are great at smiling, but veterans can often tell when someone is faking it. The same goes for in-house HR representatives. Make an effort to connect with us, and we will make an effort to give you our best.
Establishing your veteran brand is a lofty goal, but one you should not shy away from. Do what you can, because veterans want to see that you are making a genuine effort.