Hiring our nation’s heroes can yield positive returns for employers that invest in veteran hiring. With their unmatched technical and leadership skills, strong work ethic, and unwavering commitment to safety and integrity in the workplace, veterans can generate positive outcomes that can impact a business’s bottom line. In fact, one analysis showed that a company of 1,000 employees, 25% of whom are veterans, can experience an annual cost savings of $325,000.
“There is a strong business case for many companies to hire veterans because they bring skills, such as leadership abilities, crisis management, the ability to work on a team, as well as adaptability and tangible technical skills,” says Dr. Deborah Bradbard, a senior research associate at the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. “Relying on relevant metrics, such as recruitment costs, turnover rates, productivity improvements, and customer satisfaction over time, are among the ways that companies can measure the ROI of veteran hiring. Increased brand loyalty, positive customer relations and engagement, improved team culture, and community impact are other less tangible ways veteran hiring can positively impact ROI.”
Below, we explored what kind of impact employers can expect by prioritizing veteran hiring within their recruitment and retention strategies.
Unmatched Skill Sets
Veterans of the U.S. military offer unique and diversified skill sets that make them ideal candidates for businesses looking to hire. However, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to hiring veterans is translating their military skills for a civilian job. “Rarely is a company’s hiring team trained to translate a veteran’s skills and experiences to the role they’re hiring,” says April Shprintz, veteran and founder of Driven Outcomes. “Military vernacular is highly specialized and it’s challenging to know if the person applying has the needed experience based on a resume full of terms that aren’t common in the business world.”
Skills translators like Military.com’s, can help employers better understand military skills and translate them for civilian jobs. Jacey Eckhart, a transition master coach at Military.com, says, “It’s so easy for employers to put their job listings through the Military Skills Translator to identify what kind of people have the skills they’re looking for.” Additionally, O*NET’s Military-Civilian Crosswalk can help employers find military occupational classification codes for the jobs they’re looking to fill. Tools like these can help ensure that a veteran’s skills and qualifications are being used in a way that best contributes to a company’s success.
Lower Training Costs
While every industry and role is different, the average training cost per employee sits at $1,252 with companies spending an average of 33 hours of training time for every new hire, according to the Association for Talent Development. Dedicating this amount of time and resources can impact productivity when new hires are unable to hit the ground running and take more experienced employees away from their day-to-day work.
When it comes to training new hires, veterans are often fast learners, which can help employers save both time and money. “They have the unique ability to learn skill sets and roles in weeks compared to the months and years it takes many others to be trained,” Shprintz says. “For veterans, both the mission and often their lives depended on that speed of learning and adaptability. To give an example, my military training as a broadcaster took 12 weeks and I was told by more than five television news producers that they considered that 12 weeks of training superior to a four-year degree in broadcasting.”
Improved Turnover Rates
Members of the U.S. military pride themselves on their commitment to mission and country. When transitioning to civilian life, hiring workers with that kind of commitment can be impactful when considering the cost of losing an employee. According to Employee Benefit News, employers spend an average of 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace one employee, and in today’s world where the average employee stays at a job for about four years, that can really add up.
“Veterans who have served in the military often experience a profound sense of purpose and belonging during their time in service,” says Annette Harris, veteran and owner of Harris Financial Coaching. “Upon transitioning back to civilian life, they often seek employers that provide a similar sense of fulfillment and camaraderie. Once they have found an employer that aligns with their values and provides a supportive work environment, they are committed to staying with that employer for the long term. This dedication level often extends until retirement, as they value the stability and security that comes with long-term employment.”
In order to retain top veteran talent, it’s imperative that companies provide a supportive work environment. Ken Mayes, retired U.S. army veteran and IVMF employer relationship navigator, says, “Companies investing in mentorship programs and professional development opportunities for veterans will likely witness improved employee retention as veterans find a sense of belonging and growth within the organization.”
Additionally, Eckhart adds that military spouses can also embody a similar level of dedication to their employers. “Because they have traditionally been constrained by how many times they have to move, that has always been a limiter for spouse employment. However, one of the things that we’re seeing is once the spouse is working for a company, they will move heaven and earth to stay in the company. So if you’re looking for loyalty and longevity from an employee, a military spouse who can have a remote or hybrid role is a great, great hire.”
More Business Opportunities
Most people want to give back to veterans, who have sacrificed so much for us. As a result, companies that hire and support veterans may experience increased favorability with customers, investors, and business partners whose values align with their own.
For instance, BlackRock Systematic Research found that government contractors with a higher proportion of veteran hires tend to be awarded more government contracts. Additionally, Mayes says, “The Center for a New American Security’s report on ‘The Business Case for Hiring Veterans,’ highlights the potential for enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty when a company actively supports veteran hiring initiatives. Many consumers and investors favor businesses that demonstrate a commitment to veterans, positively impacting market share and revenue.”
Reduced Tax Liability
There are several tax credits available to employers that hire men and women of the Armed Forces, which can further impact a company’s bottom line. These tax credits include:
- Returning Heroes Tax Credit: This tax credit provides financial incentives for firms to hire unemployed veterans. For short-term unemployed veterans, or veterans who have been unemployed at least four weeks, employers may receive a credit of 40% of the first $6,000 in wages (up to $2,400). For long-term unemployed veterans, or those who have been unemployed longer than six months, employers may receive a credit of 40% of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600).
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This tax credit provides financial incentives for companies hiring marginalized target groups, which includes military veterans. A qualified military veteran is someone who is receiving food stamps or has left the military within the last 180 days. Employers can receive a tax credit equal to a percentage of the veteran’s first year of employment wages. “By participating in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit,” Mayes says, “employers can positively impact workforce diversity and inclusion while reducing their tax liability.”
- Wounded Warrior Tax Credit: This tax credit maintains the existing Work Opportunity tax credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities hired within one year of being discharged from the military. Employers that hire long-term unemployed veterans with services-connected disabilities may receive a new credit of 40% of the first $24,000 wages (up to $9,600).
More Inclusive Company Culture
A diverse and inclusive company culture can be decisive to the long-term success of a business and can have a direct impact on its bottom line. When hiring veterans, consider that racial and ethnic minority service members account for about 40% of active duty military. Some may have also lived in foreign countries, giving them exposure to different viewpoints and ways of life. These diverse backgrounds and experiences can positively impact team dynamics and lead to greater employee satisfaction, engagement, and camaraderie.
“Veterans can be fantastic for a company’s work culture,” Shprintz says. “They are taught to put the mission first while always keeping their troops in mind. With a mentality of ‘mission first, people always,’ veterans are uniquely able to help colleagues and teams rally around a company’s goals and accomplish them while maintaining an inclusive and supportive culture.”
Ready to Hire Veteran Talent?
Whether you’ve just begun veteran hiring, or your company has made it a priority for years, Monster and Military.com offer a comprehensive suite of tools you can use to find and hire veterans, including a Military Skills Translator, Reverse Military Skills Translator, and Veteran Talent Portals. Learn how we can help you build a veteran-friendly employer brand, recruit top-notch, skilled talent, and reach over 10 million veterans seeking opportunities today.