By Winston Davis
A military veteran is a term that has been with hiring firms for quite some time now. Various fortune 500 companies have proudly promoted this recruitment effort for good reasons, and as social responsibility continues to grow in organizations this effort should continue.
That is good news as the U.S. Department of Labor puts the number of U.S. military veterans at approximately 21.6 million men and women – roughly seven percent of the workforce population.
Although, organizations have done great work in inviting veterans to their organizations, the questions should be asked, can organizations retain veterans?
There appears to be a gap in recruitment and retention. In a recent Job vets survey of over 1400 veteran respondents, only 14% responded that they are still with their first employer post military separation.
Furthermore, of those who left their first job, nearly half of the respondents left in their first year and two-thirds left within two years.
Military veterans have combat, deployments, and long workdays to say the least, in addition to the lifelong friendships formed while serving side by side at our respective units. Is this relatable in the corporate setting? Or do organization need to set expectations during onboarding?
There are few things organizations can consider with improving military retention in corporate organizations:
- Train Leadership on Military Veterans. Having a comprehensive training program for corporate leaders to understand military veterans, what are universal motivations when it comes to work, can assist with building strong initial relationships with organization and recently separated veterans.
- Find the right fit and do not just “check the block”. Naturally as a society we can lean one way when it comes to hiring military veterans. Organizations can type cast veterans in corporate positions such as operations and not truly understand the scope and knowledge a veteran can bring to the table. For example, although many veterans understand operations and can thrive in an operations role, support functions such as Human Resources or Finance can be strong fits for many veterans as well based on a veterans service background.
- Offer veterans a path to greater pay, recognition and responsibility. Interesting concept, offering veterans a path to more pay and promotion opportunities will show promise with military veterans. Keep in mind military veterans are use to moving every 2-4 years and promoting as well with in a similar time frame.
The Fast Track to Civilian Employment, a report published in 2013 by the White House:
“Each year the military separates between 240,000 and 360,000 service members, and as we draw down from the war in Afghanistan, the military is expected to separate a million service members over the next several years.”
The tips above can assist in finding the veterans that will continue to contribute to cooperate organizations.