Many companies understand the value that veterans and military family members can bring to a workplace. Members of the military community have many qualities and skills that can benefit companies in a variety of industries.
What qualities can veterans and military family members bring to a company?
Companies that are interested in recruiting and hiring members of the military community can find employees in three categories:
- Veterans: veterans have separated from the military and have education and/or professional experience and are seeking companies and organizations that can help them build on their existing training and skills.
- Transitioning service members: service members who are transitioning are in the process of separating from the military and are looking to start their civilian career. These service members may be seeking assistance in their job search as they transition into the civilian workforce.
- Military spouses: spouses are often highly educated, but many need jobs that offer mobility and flexibility to allow them to continue their careers when their spouse’s job requires them to move.
By hiring a member of the military community, a company can bring a great deal of value to their team. Some of the qualities these individuals contribute to a workplace include:
- The ability to learn new concepts and skills, as well as transferable skills that have been proven in real-world situations.
- Leadership skills, as well as skills in direction, motivation, inspiration, and delegation. Veterans understand leadership dynamics and how to lead many different types of people.
- Teamwork and having a responsibility to coworkers, as well as the ability to be productive individually or as part of a team.
- Diversity and inclusion; veterans can work alongside others regardless of their race, gender, ethnic background, economic status, or religion, and are able to cooperate with many different types of people.
- Ability to perform under pressure; veterans understand how to accomplish tasks on time and despite being under stress.
- Respecting procedures and having accountability.
- Veterans are often knowledgeable about technical trends in business and industry and bring a global outlook and technological savvy to an employer.
- Integrity, trustworthiness, and sincerity.
- Resilience and the ability to overcome adversity.
Some additional qualities that veterans bring to an organization include:
- High rates of productivity
- Higher retention rates after being hired
- An ability to learn new skills quickly
- Loyalty to a company and to their coworkers
Veterans also offer a variety of “soft skills” that are valuable across many different industries.
- Managerial skills
- Problem solving
How can hiring veterans help companies?
In addition to the qualities veterans bring as employees, companies can receive certain benefits as a result of hiring veterans. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program provides several incentives to companies that employ veterans. These include:
- Subsidies for salaries: the VR&E provides on-the-job training and subsidizes salaries for veterans so employers pay an apprentice-level wage. As the veteran gains experience, the employer pays a higher portion of their salary until the training program is complete, and the employer pays the veteran’s full salary.
- Assistive technology: VR&E can provide workplace modifications, specialized tools, and equipment to allow veterans to perform their job duties.
- Salary reimbursement: under the Special Employer Incentive, employers may be eligible to receive incentives for hiring veterans facing obstacles to employment, which include reimbursement of up to half the veteran’s salary for as long as six months.
- Federal tax credits: under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, employers who hire veterans may be eligible to receive tax credits.
What are the benefits of hiring military spouses?
Military spouses face many barriers to employment and building a career due to their military lifestyle. These can include having to change jobs often due to frequent moves, and difficulties obtaining childcare when spouses are deployed. The current unemployment rate for military spouses is 24%, higher than the national average. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) was created to address these challenges and help spouses find employment. MSEP is part of the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, which helps connect military spouses and employers.
In addition to MSEP, SECO offers multiple resources to military spouses to help improve career and education opportunities, including:
- Helping spouses identify their skills, interests, and goals through career exploration opportunities.
- Training and education to help spouses identify licensing, credentialing, or academic requirements that will help them reach their career goals.
- Employment networking and connections to help spouses find a rewarding career.
- Employment readiness assistance to help spouses market their skills.
Military spouses have many valuable qualities that can help an organization, including:
- The ability to handle pressure and stress: they must deal with spouse deployments, relocate often, learn about a new location, and develop new support networks frequently.
- They are able to learn new skills quickly.
- They take responsibility, are accountable, and are loyal employees.
- They are patient, flexible, resilient, and able to adapt to new environments and cultures.
- They have excellent communication skills, emotional intelligence, are able to handle logistics, and have many other abilities.
How can companies recruit veterans and military family members?
There are several steps that companies can take to recruit members of the military population:
- Attend job fairs on military installations, or post job openings on military job boards.
- Ask members of their existing workforce, especially those who have served in the military, if they have any contacts they could recommend for open positions within the company.
- Work to build the company’s brand in the military community as a military employer of choice.
- Utilize government initiatives such as FedsHireVets and USAJobs.gov to post job openings and recruit veteran applicants.
- Use a skills translator to translate military job duties into civilian skills and ask veterans in your organization to help mentor new recruits.
Hiring veterans and military family members is a great way for companies to help those who have served their country, while gaining excellent employees in the process.
Heather Maxey works at a non-profit that addresses military ineligibility. She is an Army spouse, and met her husband while working as a Health Educator at Fort Bragg.