Author: Erica McMannes (page 2 of 2)

Implementing a Successful Veteran Hiring Initiative That Attracts Top Talent

As companies continually seek talent that contributes loyalty, passion, resilience, and commitment to the workforce, they look to veterans. The values of the military align with many corporate goals, such as being customer-centric, providing a consultative approach, and focusing on collaboration and teamwork. It’s no wonder the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that by the year 2023, there will be more than 3.5 million veterans in the civilian job market.

As companies like yours implement veteran hiring initiatives, it’s crucial that you understand how to optimize your efforts in order to ensure success. This means keeping the cost to hire as low as possible, recruiting top talent, improving retention, and increasing your ROI.

In order to quickly and cost-efficiently fill your veteran initiative with the most qualified candidates that will increase ROI, where do you start? The following tips will help you implement a successful veteran hiring initiative that attracts top talent.

Executive Support

It’s important that you have buy-in from senior management when working to hire qualified veterans. This will allow you to conduct research, create unique programs, form alliances, and build visibility as a veteran-friendly company. Without this support, many initiatives fall short of meeting objectives, or are phased out as interest and enthusiasm become hard to sustain.

Skill Translating Savvy

Reconnaissance, NCO, Brigade… what do these terms mean? The military uses job codes with descriptions of responsibilities and duties — but most veterans do not have the civilian employee background to intuitively know how those codes translate into civilian roles. If you educate yourself on how to translate military skills into civilian roles — that will likely fit your open job descriptions — you’ll not only help vets understand their true capabilities in the workforce, but you’ll tap into a candidate pool that will help you find extremely qualified individuals for your jobs. Why?

Veterans are among the most highly skilled and experienced employees and managers in the U.S. workforce. The jobs within the military are as diverse and varied as in the civilian world. Many veterans have strong leadership and managerial skills because they were given more fiscal and people management responsibility at younger ages than civilian workers. They have been responsible for equipment worth millions of dollars, and for the safety of dozens to hundreds of people. In short, you can hold them accountable.

Transition Coaching

Offer veterans in the market for a civilian job support in their transition. You can educate them on the accepted ways and customs of civilian employment and company culture. Provide them with mentors and coaches — like the guidance they got in the military from higher ranks — who can help them identify the differences and learn to adapt to new expectations. Investing in these hires and showing your commitment to their career will also improve retention.

Want to learn more about where and how to hire the most qualified veterans for the job? Request a call with our team!

Tips To Overcome Culture Shock After the Army

cul·ture shock (noun): 
the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

The most common hurdles in military transitions are frequently discussed: employment, VA benefits, paperwork, medical out processing, etc. But what other elements of this transition experience exist that aren’t being as openly discussed?

We often tend to keep “culture shock” in strict reference to locational or geographical changes. A deployment to the Middle East warrants culture shock. A duty assignment in Korea warrants culture shock. A redeployment from Iraq back to Fort Bragg after 15 months is an acceptable reason for culture shock. (Even a PCS from Fort Drum to Fort Polk can be deemed worthy of culture shock. If you’ve been to Fort Polk, you’ll get it.)

But what happens when the “shock” isn’t so widely accepted or understood? It quickly changes from a cliché term thrown around in vague description to something deeply personal and conflicting.

If you ask a transitioned soldier what the hardest part of assimilating into a civilian job was, it’s going to be navigating through the unfamiliar culture, daily routines, interactions, attitudes, language, jargon, terminologies, and values of a civilian company. It’s not a simple job transfer. It’s not as easy as “took a new job today.” It’s a deep mental shift from one way of life to another and the more we continue to acknowledge, accept, and discuss this phase of transition, the better off our soldiers, families, and services will be.

A recent independent study on veterans in the workplace from the Burton Blatt Institute and Competitive Edge Services reports that “transition experiences can be complicated by a number of factors: physical and psychological service-related injuries (including PTSD), the lack of an easy way to communicate one’s experience and skills, and the lack of a written rule book on the prevailing unspoken corporate rules. Some reported being misunderstood by co-workers due to differences in one’s manner, expectations, and speech. Others were frustrated by the lack of a clear chain of command and a clear path for advancement. Others described missing the sense of mission and urgency within the military that resulted from knowing that the lives of others might depend on the speed and quality of one’s own work. Some also spoke of missing the camaraderie and bonds fostered by working and living in close quarters and depending on each other in critical, life and death situations. And others described how losing such bonds can create feelings of painful loneliness.”

In short, culture shock.

So how do you assimilate? How do you ease the stress of the cultural transition? In an ideal world, observation, research, and time to adapt would be key. But in a fast moving market, on the job training and job performance are expected immediately leaving little time to ease into the culture of your new career. So as you prepare, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Knowledge is power. Ask questions. Be bold and clear in your intentions. At any point in the employment seeking process the following set of questions are appropriate to ask:

“Could you explain the chain of command within your company’s structure?”

“How would you describe the daily pace of work here?”

“What are the defining elements of the team culture in this company?”

This short clip will provide you great additional material for conversations with potential employers: Top Ten Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

Stay involved. Staying connected to a community the understands where you’ve been, what you’ve done, where you struggle, where you thrive, and where you are going is life preserving. Even if you relocate and are far removed from a military installation or active military community, still seek out ways to remain connected. Veteran organizations that offer local chapters like Team RWB or Team Rubicon that offer events, get togethers, and physical training outlets are incredible morale boosters, networking, and destressor opportunities. Engaging in LinkedIn or Facebook communities geared towards veteran networking and support also provide real time, interactive platforms to stay engaged. Don’t shut yourself out. Don’t suffer in silence. A community exists to support you, just have seek out and reach out.

Focus on the commonalities. While the finer threads connecting military roles to civilian jobs may not always be strong, the encompassing strategy is the same. There is a job to be done, a team put together the get the job done, and specific parameters and expectations in which the job is to be done. Channel the energy and strong skill set you possess towards positive momentum in your new career.

Set realistic timeframes for adjustments. Two days on the job won’t leave you fully adjusted. The first 4-6 weeks in a new job are often training and information overload. Expect this and plan for it. If anything, veterans are apt to adapt and envelope loads of information under stressful situations, just remember those skills still exist it’s only the stream and source of information that has changed.

A smooth transition out of the military can be difficult, so here are some helpful tips to set yourself up for success in your new endeavors!

Why Hiring Veterans Can Reduce Talent Acquisition and Training Costs

Hiring the best candidate for the job typically takes a lot of time and money. While you feel pressure from leadership to fill your open positions as quickly as possible, recruiting the most qualified candidates will save you more time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Scrambling to just quickly fill your open jobs can result in loss of money, time invested, and increased attrition rates by not having the right talent in the role.

 So, how can you cost-effectively hire and retain top notch employees? A good starting point is tapping into a pool of the most skilled, reliable, and impressive candidates. Here’s why the most qualified person for the job could very well be a veteran:

  1. Mission Focus

A military lifestyle by nature is mission focused. Veterans thrive in a culture built on cooperation, personal development, and overcoming obstacles to get the job done. These values naturally translate into civilian roles.

  1. Broad Spectrum Leaders

Veterans possess a wide range of solid leadership experience. Many soldiers become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions by the age of 20. Throughout military careers, these leaders are taught responsibility, integrity, and decision making techniques that develop into strong, natural leadership qualities.

Intuition is a skill most veterans possess when they exit the military that can enhance civilian job requirements like problem solving, strategizing, and decision making. Because military experience inevitably strengthens intuition, veterans are well fit for leadership and team building roles.   

  1. Shortened Onboarding Process

Often times, candidates are brought into positions with limited training and need to be handheld as they onboard. Veterans’ history of intensive training and formative real world experiences allow them to confidently lead from day one. Because strategic leadership skills have been acquired from years of military experience in rigorous training programs, vets may require less training, saving your company time and money during the onboarding process.

Veterans are extremely qualified for a number of civilian roles, but in order to get a clear picture of how their skills match your job descriptions, you need to first understand how their experience can best support your company — which is easier said than done in most HR departments today. You need a solution to translate military skills from resumes in ways you’ll actually be able to understand.

If you’d like to learn more about a veteran career platform that will provide you with veteran resumes that fit the roles you’re trying to fill as quickly and effectively as possible, request a call with a member of our team!

Set Yourself Up For Success Before Transitioning Out of the Military

 

Army soldiers are no stranger to preparedness and situational awareness. By the time most military personnel are transitioning out of the military, these skills have become second nature not only in relation to their military role, but in everyday life as well. Yet somewhere along the line, we see many veterans leaving out these very formative skills that are not only essential, but critical to a successful transition from active duty to the civilian sector.

Preparedness

You can never start too early. The industry recommendation in beginning your transition is somewhere around a year out (and most military offered assistance programs start around then as well), but there are many avenues of preparedness that you can begin at any time in your career. First on the list of early preparedness: a resume. Your resume will become your story. But, that story has to be translated from the military jargon and technicals terms that strongly define your experience into a meaningful snapshot of how you will benefit a future employer. That future employer will not know what your MOS, military awards, or training credentials mean to them as a civilian company. You have to be prepared and have that translation ready. So whether you’ve just enlisted, just finished the Captain’s Career Course, or you are reaching 25 years and counting down the days, start building your translated resume, and allow that story to build with you.

Situational Awareness

While your situation may no longer be in a combat zone, there are many layers of life, family, and future to work through as you strive to make the best decisions to sustain or even improve quality of life. A successful transition begins with staying actively engaged with the goal in sight. The transition experience is weighted with decision making, but when preparing early, there are a few basic parameters that you’ll need to be aware of and how your situation stands:

  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Will you have children in school?
  • What fields or industries will you pursue?
  • Do you have a network to pull from? (If not, start here: 3 Steps to Building a Network)
  • What are you actually qualified to do in the civilian workforce?
  • Can I articulate my military experience in a way a civilian employer will understand?

If you start to ask these ‘veteran in transition’ questions early and engage in conversations with mentors and spouses, the framework to your transition will slowly begin to build. If you have a strong framework and concept of the direction you desire to go BEFORE you hit those mandated military transition programs, you’ll be able to better piece together the picture being offered for life after active military service.

Active, self-guided involvement in early preparedness is key to a successful transition. Don’t wait until someone says, “Your first TAPS workshop is next Monday.” Go into that transitional period with a plan in place. Remain knowledgeable about your options, clear on the storytelling of your military experience with a translated resume, and aware of the parameters you’ll be needing to set, meet, and achieve.

For more career-driven preparedness tips, check out this blog post!

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