Why Hiring a Veteran Makes Good Business Sense
By Catherine Tansey
Looking for your next great hire? Consider making veterans a focus of your recruitment efforts. Military service members are highly trainable individuals who bring leadership skills, a strong work ethic, and a can-do attitude to the job. They’re accustomed to taking on new roles, have experience managing others, and use resources well. But because less than 10% of the American population has served in the military, many people are unfamiliar with the valuable skills and experience veterans have gained during their service.
Hire Veterans for Serious Skills and Experience
Many servicewomen and men are young when they join the service; over one-half of all U.S. service members are younger than 25 when they enlist. Not long after joining, they are tasked with leading teams and managing others. They study tactical skills such as how to make decisions, plan, organize, and execute. They also acquire core leadership skills such as motivation and delegation. Moreover, in the military, service members can’t be fired, so leaders are managing people they didn’t hire and cannot let go. They understand a team is only as strong as its weakest member and know how to spur collaboration and inspire team members in the toughest of circumstances.
- Work Ethic
The military builds a strong work ethic. Service members are accustomed to being part of a mission-driven team with a focused view of accomplishing their goal. Because most service members are young when they join, their time in service shapes their work ethic for life. During deployment, there are no sick days or days off, and service members work nights, weekends, and holidays, no exception. Alongside the “get it done” mentality, service members learn personal integrity and a sense of urgency.
For the modern workplace, diversity is a proven tool for gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace: Harvard Business Review reports that diverse teams are smarter and perform better. But diversity is most often considered in terms of race, religion, gender, and ethnic background with little emphasis on veteran status. Diversity is bringing people together from different backgrounds and with varied experiences to help teams look at problems differently and reach solutions creatively. Military veterans have specific experiences civilians are not privy too and are required to cooperate as part of diverse teams from day one. As Marine Jon Davis writes, the military is a subculture unlike any other and one that focuses “entirely on mission achievement, cooperation, and personal development. The military systematically builds individuals who are designed to join highly diverse teams.”
Vets are a highly trainable population. They’re accustomed to shifting roles and are confident taking on new responsibilities with little notice. Because the military demands agility and adaptability, military service members have an innate growth mindset that’s advantageous for any industry sector and company. Much of their learning takes place on the fly, so vets have experience adding new skills and coming up to speed quickly.
- Tax Credits
In addition to gaining an employee with military discipline, leadership, and work ethic, hiring a veteran can save your organization serious money. In 2011 a number of previously separate tax credits were combined into the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits to address veterans’ high unemployment rates. These general business credits can save businesses up to $5,600 under the Returning Heroes credit and up to $9,600 under the Wounded Warriors credit.
Tips for Hiring Veterans
Translate job descriptions: The military uses a professional lexicon unlike that of civilian organizations. To better represent job opportunities to veterans, translate job responsibilities and duties into military job codes that map to the job requirements with O*NET’s Military-Civilian Crosswalk.
Take advantage of tax credits: Businesses must apply for veteran-centric tax credits within 28 days of hiring a veteran. Incorporate veterans into your hiring strategy for access to a pool of highly skilled, highly qualified individuals who offer valuable experience and an excellent work ethic.
For other tips on recruitment and hiring, contact Nelson today.