Veterans Day, observed every year on November 11, is a national holiday to honor and show appreciation for military veterans. Hiring veterans as part of your diversity and inclusion strategy is one of the best ways to recognize the contributions of service members and benefit from their wide range of talents and experiences.
Regardless of the industry or work environment, veterans offer skills, abilities and knowledge that are always in demand. Among them: a strong work ethic, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making and the ability to adapt quickly to new and ever-changing circumstances.
Tapping into the diverse talents of veterans
About 200,000 service members transition from military service to civilian life each year, according to the US Department of Defense. Having served their country, veterans can make an impact in the workplace if organizations have the right hiring and retention strategies.
At the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) INCLUSION 2020 virtual conference in October, HR and business leaders discussed some of the ways they are reaching out to veterans. Such as:
- Involving veteran employees and veteran supporters from employee resource groups (ERGs) in the hiring process. At a large insurance and financial company, veteran employees attend recruiting events to talk about the workplace culture and train HR professionals and hiring managers on how to review and understand veterans’ resumes. The company also runs campus recruiting and internship programs with Student Veterans of America, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the needs and concerns of US military veterans in higher education.
- Offering career development programs is another part of a strategy to hire and retain veterans. For example, at a global healthcare company veteran employees get opportunities to experience different functions and business units through six-month rotations.
- Providing ongoing training and development, mentorship programs and ERGs also helps veterans transition successfully into the workforce.
- Placing veterans in roles that match the skills they acquired in the military — such as logistics, operations and security — which can increase retention rates.
Some other best practices for hiring, recruiting and retaining military veterans include:
- Sponsoring hiring events that are tailored for veterans and others connected to the military.
- Creating a resource guide for company recruiters, including where to find veteran talent.
- Partnering with agencies to find qualified candidates. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is a cooperative effort among US government departments to provide information, resources and tools to help service members and their families transition to civilian life.
- Tracking, measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of recruiting and retention efforts, as well as veterans’ career development and promotions.
- Raising awareness of veteran initiatives internally to encourage support throughout the organization and address any misperceptions and unconscious bias that pose barriers to creating an inclusive work environment.
Creating a hiring and retention program for military veterans is a great way to honor service members on Veterans Day and throughout the year. As part of a long-term strategy to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, there’s a strong business case for hiring veterans, who offer a broad range of skills, experiences and perspectives that can strengthen workplace culture and help organizations succeed.