As a nation, we have a responsibility to support our veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. One way that companies can show their support is by hiring veterans. However, hiring veterans is not enough.
There is a difference between being “veteran friendly” and “veteran ready.” Veteran-friendly companies may offer veterans a job, but they may not have the support systems in place to help veterans succeed in their new role. On the other hand, a veteran-ready workplace has put in the time and effort to ensure that veterans feel supported, valued and included in the workplace. With the right policies, programs and practices to support their unique needs, your company can become a veteran-ready workplace.
“Veterans bring unique skills and experiences to the workplace,” says Steve Janke, Mission Wisconsin founder and a veteran. “They are often trained to be adaptable, resilient and resourceful, which can translate to success in the workplace. Additionally, military service requires a strong work ethic, discipline, and a commitment to excellence. Our veterans are also often highly motivated, goal-oriented and results-driven, qualities that can benefit any organization.”
Veterans also often have experience leading teams, making decisions under pressure, and solving complex problems. These leadership abilities translate to success across many different industries. In addition, veterans brings a wide range of experiences and perspectives that can enrich the workplace culture
In some cases, companies may also be eligible for tax credits for hiring veterans. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit provides tax credits to companies that hire individuals from certain target groups, including veterans.
Become a veteran-ready workplace
To become a veteran-ready workplace, consider the following:
- Develop a veteran hiring initiative. Company leadership should establish a formal initiative to hire veterans. This includes establishing a hiring goal, developing a recruitment strategy, and training hiring managers to recognize and value the skills and experiences of veterans. Also consider offering veteran-friendly benefits, such as tuition assistance, paid time-off for military leave, and access to VA health care.
- Create a veteran mentorship program. Mentorship programs can help new veteran employees navigate the workplace, develop relationships with colleagues, and learn the company culture. It can also help veterans feel more connected to the company and can improve their chances of long-term success.
- Provide veteran-specific training: Many veterans may need training to translate their military skills to civilian job requirements. Consider offering training programs specifically for veterans. This can help them develop the skills they need to succeed in their new role.
- Establish a veteran resource group. An employee resource group is an opportunity for individuals with similar interests, experiences or characteristics to connect, find support and enhance the company and its employees. These groups can provide a sense of community and support for veterans in the workplace. They can also serve as a resource for the company on issues related to veterans and military service. Similarly, partner with veteran organizations. This is a great way to learn more about the needs of veterans and how to support them.
- Offer flexibility. Veterans may have unique needs, such as medical appointments or family obligations, that require flexibility in their work schedules. Companies should be willing to offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate the needs of veterans.
- Recognize and celebrate military service. This can include hosting events to honor veterans on Veterans Day or offering a special leave policy for military service.
Wherever your company is on its journey of welcoming and supporting more veterans, Mission Wisconsin can be a critical partner. We get your organization in front of transitioning service members and their families, and we’re can help our organization become a sought-after destination for this talent. Learn more about becoming a Mission Wisconsin Partner today.