Turn on the TV or navigate through at an online job portal, and you are likely to see a report, ad, or article of a company, reading that they are hiring veterans. You may wonder whether they are doing so to honor the service members, or is there some kind of smart business strategy behind it?
Well, it is the latter in most cases. In the past few years, civilian and government employers have become aware of a host of unique strengths and useful capabilities veterans possess, and the value they can add to their enterprise. They have realized that veterans have a lot to offer, as a majority of them are educated, detailed-oriented, disciplined, quick learners, self-starters, professional, and have a strong work ethic.
With so many qualities, it only makes sense for top US employers to establish themselves as veteran friendly organizations to attract this highly qualified talent pool. A few notable examples of such companies include Walmart, Halliburton, and Best-Buy. Let’s delve deeper and understand why veteran recruiting is experiencing an upward trend and how this practice is helping the top US employers to stay on the top US employer’s lists.
Why Top Employers are Emphasizing Veteran Recruiting
The answer to this question is quite straightforward: Veterans are arguably some of the most competent, technically trained, and entrepreneurial individuals in the US. Gone are the days when hiring a veteran was seen as a philanthropic act to help the country’s heroes get jobs. Nowadays, employers see hiring a veteran as a beneficial recruitment decision.
Companies willing to tap into this elite talent pool are making relentless efforts to not only ensure recruiting and hiring qualified veteran employees, but also retaining them to cap the turnover rate to continue leveraging from the capabilities of the right individuals. If you look at the ‘Best for Vets’ list of MilitaryTimes, the companies like Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Capital One and others, are utilizing the best recruitment and retaining practices for veterans.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common qualities and skills that veterans bring with them:
Refined Leadership Skills
One of the critical components of military training is developing leadership qualities within the service members that enable them to cope with situations requiring confidence and initiative towards solving a problem. Along with leading, delegating, and motivating whenever required, they have to do these mostly in high-stress situations.
If their polished leadership skills are applied in a workplace environment, they are likely to stay composed and lead their team members into accomplishing the objectives and goals, all the while building confidence in their team.
Accelerated Learning Curve
Veterans are quick learners: they have the ability to grasp new skills and concepts rather easily. Moreover, they can easily enter the workforce and adapt to the workplace culture with identifiable and transferable skills, which they have already applied in real-world situations.
Strong Work Ethics
Every branch of the armed forces focuses on developing strong work ethic in the service members, because unreliable and unfocused service can put human lives in jeopardy. The training develops a mindset that they have to do whatever it takes to complete their task and achieve their goals. Such level of commitment to accomplishing objectives can prove to be invaluable for any organization, as they translate to consistency, self-discipline, reliability, and professional maturity.
Up-to-date with Latest Technology Trends and Globalization
Veterans are mostly aware of technical and global trends regarding business and industry, due to their experiences during the service. They have the kind of technological savvy and global outlook to excel in any organization.
CareerBuilder conducted a survey this year, and has highlighted a list of skills and qualities that employers think are beneficial and veterans bring to their organization:
- Communication skills: 41 percent
- Disciplined approach to work: 63 percent
- Integrity and respect: 59 percent
- Leadership skills: 52 percent
- Perseverant attitude: 44 percent
- Problem-solving skills: 48 percent
- Quick adaption: 46 percent
- Strong technical skills: 33 percent
- Team player: 62 percent
- Under pressure working: 54 percent
Apart from leveraging from veterans’ honed skills and abilities, employers enjoy some tax benefits as well. The government offers the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to companies that employ veterans. The amount of credit offered is dependent on the number of working hours and wages earned after one year. For example, for 400 hours worked, an employer can claim tax incentive worth 40 percent of veteran’s wage from the first year.
Another tax benefit is the Returning Heroes Tax Credit. This applies to companies that hire veterans unemployed for a certain period. Depending on the time span, the government allows employers to claim 40 percent of the specific amount of first year’s wage paid.
The Increasing Trend of Veteran Recruitment
The Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation conducted a study this year titled as, “Veteran Employment Survey: Understanding the Challenges and Creating Long-Term Opportunities for Veteran Employees”. It spanned for more than a year, between 2015 and 2016, and surveyed 1000 veterans and 400 human resource professionals across the US.
The study concluded with key findings that veterans are among the top three targeted individuals for recruitment by major companies nationwide. It also showed that US employers have dramatically increased the amount of efforts for recruiting and hiring veterans in recent years. However, some results indicated that there still exist gaps between civilian employers and military personnel today, and more streamlined efforts are required for making organizations realize the benefits of taking veterans on board and achieving success.
A Few Top US Employers Focusing their Efforts on Hiring Veterans
The Walt Disney Company
The CEO and Chairman Robert Iger of this industry giant started the Heroes Work Here (HWH) initiative in 2012, and accelerated the company’s efforts towards recruitment, retention, and support strategies for veterans and their families. The Walt Disney Company have hired more than 1,000 veteran employees by 2015, and has made more than 5,000 job offers to qualified veterans for different executive and middle management positions.
The Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, initiated by Walmart, are continually expanding their efforts, and planning to extend their goal to hiring 200,000 veteran employees by the year 2020. The retail giant is already on track to on exceeding their existing goal of providing 100,000 jobs to veterans with short-term and long-term opportunities.
The Federal Government
Since veterans are less inclined towards joining the labor force, a large portion of veterans turn towards the government sector. Nearly half the military veterans are hired by the Federal government. This is evident from the fact that veterans make up 46.5 percent of the civilian employees that are working in the Department of Defense. Other sectors with high number of veteran employees include the Department of Transport, Department of Energy, and Department of Justice.
The top US employers have realized the potential of veterans and the many ways they can benefit from their unique strengths and capabilities. If you haven’t yet started a recruitment process for hiring veterans, it is best that you devise a strategy to attract talented veterans and get in the league of the top US employers.