Hiring veterans is a no brainer, but how do you retain them?
Hiring military veterans is an easy way to add strength to your work team, and we aren’t talking about physicality. Veterans have a long-ranging work history, tend to have strong values and work ethic, and have demonstrated leadership capabilities. And, employers that hire veterans in 2013 can apply for generous tax credits ranging from $2,400 to $9,600 per new hire – talk about an win-win situation!
The Value of a Veteran is an organization devoted to teaching organizations how to recruit and retain military veterans, and offers training for corporate, government, higher education, and franchise organizations. Lisa Rosser, who is the acting CEO, founded the organization to help companies better understand recruiting and retention of veterans, and with 10 years of Active Army duty and 11 years of service with the Army Reserve, including 2.5 years of mobilization after the events of 9/11, and engaging in the Gulf War, Somalia, and Bosnia, she learned the ins and outs of life before and after military service, retiring in July 2011 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Rosser notes that most companies have support programs in place for the more recognized diversity communities: women, ethnic minorities, gay/lesbian/trans-gendered, adding that the veteran population is also a diverse population with specific, and often unique, support needs.
This diverse population can be retained, and by understanding their needs, you can keep these talented leaders in your company for the long haul. Rosser offers the following four methods to retain military veterans at your company:
1. Establish a veteran affiliation group.
The military has a strong culture, and those who have served form fast and lasting bonds. Provide them a formal group where they can meet those who have made the transition from military to civilian life and who have achieved success in your organization.
2. Create a formal integration program (i.e., sponsorship).
Making the transition from military to civilian work life can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. A veteran-employee sponsor can provide advice and encouragement to help them navigate the first months or year of their new career.
3. Assign mentors to help them navigate corporate career paths.
The military has very defined career paths. From formal education to job assignments, most service members have experienced and can describe the specific types of roles and experiences they needed to make career progress in the military. However, corporate careers can take on a variety of directions, and many options are not obvious from their career point of entry. Regular check ins with mentors can help the service member see the options and opportunities.
4. Recognize your veteran-employees on Veterans Day & Memorial Day.
Celebrate the meaning of these specific holidays in your offices and acknowledge the sacrifices that all veterans and their families have made in service to the country. Arrange for a recognized company leader to send a personal message to each veteran-employee thanking them for their service.