Hiring Veterans? How Should Employers Go About It.

Hiring Veterans

And What Do They Need To Keep In Mind?

Seeing a person who has served always makes our heart swell with pride and many of us often thank them for their service. However, very few of us think about what these veterans do, once they return home. A growing number of employers are looking at hiring veterans, but they have several doubts related to it, because they are not sure how to go about translating military experience and how the veterans will be able to transition from service life. They also have doubts about whether the skills they have picked up during service will translate into their specific requirements.

Let’s first take a look at why employers should consider hiring veterans:

  • Veterans are highly productive and if they are hired into the right job, they are not known to have easy attrition
  • Because they have been in the services, they are already proven leaders and they are always ready to lead from the front 
  • Once they have been given a project, they will ensure that it gets done, because they are used to running missions and taking every effort to ensure the proper completion
  • Service personnel are used to working in teams and no matter how diverse the team, they are able to work with it, which means that they make great team players as well as adept decision makers
  • When they are on the ground, they might find themselves in situations, where they have to learn something really quickly and this is why they are able to learn and adapt quite easily
  • There is no doubt that the work ethics of veterans cannot be questioned, because they are trained to maintain the highest levels of integrity and loyalty
  • Joining the military also means that you will be given some sort of technical skills and once out of the service, these veterans could utilise the same knowledge and skills in jobs after the military too.

However, before you hire veterans, you need to understand some important aspects related to military transition: 

  • The very first thing that employers need to understand is that these are veterans – they have an immense amount of experience and have done a lot for the country, and at every point, they need to be treated with respect. This does not mean, however, that they have to be given any special treatments. As a matter of fact, several veterans have often spoken about how they would prefer to be treated like every other employee and not a special case. 
  • It is essential to understand that veterans have spent several years in a very tight knit environment and suddenly giving that up and getting into a new environment will take some time. There could even be an element of fear and employers need to understand the same and allow veterans the time they need. They would have been trained in special skill sets and if they are needed to learn a new skill in their civilian role, they might need a little extra time. 
  • In the military, veterans are trained for every situation that they might encounter, which is why it would be natural for them to expect the same in civilian life too. while the veterans might have managed to translate their military job to a civilian resume, they will still need some help doing the same in reality. Employers might need to provide some form of training sessions for veterans, because it will help them ease into the groove of things. Employers might want to use something like the federal “Transition GPS or Goals, Plans and Success” as a foundation and then build a program specific to their organisation.

There are also some personal aspects to hiring veterans, which employers will need to keep in mind:

  • At no point of time do the veterans want charity or pity, even if they have been injured in the field of combat. Most of the veterans don’t even want leadership positions neither are they looking for an endless list of military jobs – they just want opportunities to do good work and take care of their families. They are all looking for an opportunity to contribute and have their work and efforts valued. 
  • After the experiences they have had, it might be hard for them to settle into what we all would consider a normal life immediately, but at the end of the day, even they want to be liked and make new friends. Several employers offer a sensitisation program to its other employees to ensure that veterans are made to feel comfortable when they join. 
  • Veterans have been through a lot and they will have plenty of stories that they will have – some they will want to share, but there will be several that they will not want to. It is important for employers to understand and respect the boundaries and ensure that other employees understand the same as well. 

Employers need to understand that veterans are in a slightly different league as compared to regular civilian employees and while they need not be treated with any special consideration, there needs to be a certain level of respect that needs to be accorded to them at all times. Most importantly, employers need to find out the best ways to translate the experiences and expertise of the veterans into civilian work life. 

Additional Reading

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