First thing first, thank you for not only taking the time to read this article, but far more importantly for dedicating you and your team’s efforts to hiring Veterans. If you’re reading this article, I think it is a safe assumption that you understand the incredible values, skillsets, and character that Veterans can bring to your organization.
However, as a Veteran who has assisted hundreds of organizations find, attract, and hire Veterans, I would like to highlight three areas that you should ensure to address before bringing a Veteran onboard.
Study military terminology and jargon.
One of the very first thing I tell every Veteran who has decided to transition into the civilian workforce is to become cognizant of the terminology they use and to minimize their use of military jargon. The military is a jargon and acronym factory, and it can be very difficult for transitioning Service Members to adjust their vocabulary.
However, just like we ask for Veterans to adjust, I also suggest that employers take the time to familiarize themselves with basic military terminology. After all, this could provide massive dividends and make it easier for you to assign particular tasks and challenges to your Veteran team members as they may have faced similar situations during their service.
If you’d like an easy cheat sheet on military terms and ranks, check out another of our Hiring Center articles, “An Employer’s Guide to Military terms”.
Don’t treat your Veterans like glass.
This may seem like an odd statement, but it is an issue that occurs over and over. Let’s get something straight, many battle wounds are not visible, and if you, a family member, a friend, or coworker is struggling with mental health, please get the help you or they need.
Here are a few fantastic organizations:
- Tunnel to Towers Foundation: www.t2t.org
- Gary Sinise Foundation: www.garysinisefoundation.org
- Fisher House Foundation: www.fisherhouse.org
However, not every person that has worn the uniform or been in combat suffers from PTSD or other mental health challenges. As such, please do not fall into the trap of treating your Veteran employees differently in this regard.
Personal Note: After receiving a job offer via email, I replied with a quick thank you and asked if I could meet with them one more time in-person (I had a few questions left before accepting
the job). What happened?
My new potential employer asked, “We know you’re a Veteran, do you need special accommodations?” While I am sure this message was sent with the best of intentions, it is a prime example of the scenario you should avoid.
If there are other Veterans in your organization, encourage the creation of an internal Veteran’s group.
Time and time again, when a Veteran is asked what they miss most about their time in the service is that they lack the level of camaraderie with their civilian coworkers as that which he or she shared with their fellow Service Members. (For me it is not having to decide what to wear to work everyday!)
Of course, it is virtually impossible for coworkers to build an equal relationship as that which develops amongst deployed warriors. However, while you hopefully will never be in combat around the job site, there’s no reason to not encourage your Veteran hires that have those past experiences to gather and build relationships in their new environment.
What do I mean by this?
Encourage the Veterans in your organization to meet one another, share experiences, and even go as far as establishing an official internal Veteran Group. When I tell business leaders of this, one of the most common responses is, “But won’t this create a clique?”. In short no.
The reason is that your Veteran hires seek to become team members of the greater organization, as they were while in service, but a supporting Veterans group can make the transition much easier and far more likely to create a long term employee.
Pro Tip: Once established, let the Veteran group be run by the Veterans. Better yet, let a Veteran lead the effort to establish the group in the first place.
Thanks again for making a dedicated effort to support those who have supported us. Please know
that the BlueRecruit team is here to not only help you hire Veterans but make them exceptional