You know there are many benefits of hiring veterans. But according to Monster data, fewer than half (46%) of veterans said they felt accepted at a new company right away. Are you doing enough to create a veteran-friendly culture and ensure your veterans and military workers feel welcome and supported?
William Davidson, Command Sergeant Major (CSM Ret.) and Senior Director of Veteran Outreach at Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program dedicated to veterans, service members, and their families, spoke to us about the importance of building a veteran-friendly culture. “When it comes to veterans, recognizing the service and sacrifice of these individuals to serve our country is essential,” he says. “The veteran community appreciates a workplace environment that strives to show how their service and sacrifice are valued. Creating a welcoming environment will attract veterans to the workplace and allow other staff to learn about military culture.”
When it comes to creating a veteran-friendly company culture, Monster’s Veteran Hiring Guide outlines the top five ways leading companies are supporting veteran talent:
- Partnerships with veteran and military family organizations
- Paid time off for military duty for Guard members and reservists
- Employee resource group for veterans and families
- Veteran mentorship program
- Skills translators/civilian job equivalents
Below, we spoke with several experts to provide insight into how these tactics can help employers better support their veteran and military employees and effectively create a veteran-friendly company culture.
Partner with Veteran and Military Family Organizations
Any company can say they have a “veteran-friendly culture,” but for veterans to truly feel valued and supported is something that starts from the top down. Putting your corporate sponsorship or volunteer efforts toward organizations that support veterans and military families can be a great way to show veteran employees and candidates that you’re walking the walk—not just talking the talk.
Fiserv, a global financial technology company, sponsors several military organizations, including the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, Our Community Salutes, Wreaths Across America, and more. By partnering with these types of organizations, Vivian Greentree, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv, says, “A lot of our military engagement strategies come down to good HR practices that benefit all employees because they are meeting people where they are, resourcing them properly, and providing an environment where everyone can say, ‘I am a valued member of a winning team doing meaningful work in an environment of trust.'”
Even civilian workers, Greentree says, can benefit from Fiserv’s military sponsorships and activities. “We offer opportunities for all our associates and military-supporter partners to be involved in our military programming, opening communication and fostering increased interaction and camaraderie,” she says. “Volunteering with our military community partners offers our non-military associates opportunities to experience the Esprit de Corps and the connectedness our military associates share.”
Offer Paid Time Off and Flexible Hours
Monster’s Future of Work survey found that flexibility is most important to workers today, and Ryan Eden, Veteran Employment Manager at PRISM, Inc., a technical and professional services firm, says this can be especially appealing to military spouses who may have children or other family members to care for. “We really understand that military spouses are best suited for jobs that allow flexible hours, remote work, and paid time off due to the volatility of their spouse’s military obligations,” he says. “Flexibility is necessary for a military spouse to sustain both a job and family successfully.”
Reservists, too, can benefit from flexible hours and paid time off to recoup after assignments. For instance, Monster offers active reserve duty employees a “buffer” week of PTO between an active-duty assignment and when they return to work.
At PRISM, Eden says they work closely with one of their reservist employees, who typically has very intense weekend drills that can make it difficult for him to return to the office the next day. “We’ve offered him a lot of flexibility after his weekend drills to work from home to help him regroup and recover,” Eden says. “And if he has to serve out a mission, we discuss a return to allow for flexibility if needed, so he can engage in and really come back ‘fresh’ into the civilian job.”
Provide Employee Resource Groups and Mentorship Programs
When it comes to company culture, Gary Patton, Vice President of Veterans and Military Affairs at CACI, a winner on Monster’s Best Companies for Veterans list, says it’s essential to create a sense of belonging. Employee resource groups and mentorship programs can give veterans a sense of belonging and camaraderie and help them assimilate into civilian life more easily.
Patton says, “We have a Veteran Transition mentoring program, where we take old hands, who are veterans within the company, and they’re able to pair off with recently separated veteran new hires, not as a supervisor but more as a mentor or coach who they can go to with problems, concerns, and questions to help get their feet on the ground. I think it’s a good program to help our veterans make that sometimes difficult and challenging transition from the military to the civilian workforce.”
CACI’s veteran employee resource group (VERG), which is open to all employees, regardless of veteran status, is another way this best-in-class company helps create a culture of inclusion. With activities ranging from laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every Veterans Day to washing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.., Patton says, “These are the types of things we do as part of the VERG that promote a sense of belonging within our culture.”
Translate Military Skills for Civilian Jobs
Translating military skills and placing veterans in the right jobs is crucial to helping them feel accepted and supported right from the start. “It’s important for employers to understand how to translate military skills because finding the right fit for veterans is important,” says Sarah Blansett, Vice President of Military.com. “Some translation will happen as a part of a veterans transition process and by tapping into tools that can help them understand the civilian workplace, like our Veteran Employment Project. Yet, the other side is the employer who needs to have insight into how their open positions relate to veterans’ skill sets.”
Monster and Military.com offer a comprehensive suite of tools that employers can use to find and hire veterans, including a Military Skills Translator, Reverse Military Skills Translator, and Veteran Talent Portals. “We also have products that equip and educate the job-seeking veteran in the hopes that if we train both sides, we can facilitate a better fit for the employers and the veterans,” Blansett says. “Employers can expand their paid military time off policies for Guard and reserve members, support veteran and military spouse employee resource groups, and find and train recruiters who are veterans or military spouses to make their workplace more veteran and military spouse friendly.”
More Veteran Retention Strategies
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