Why Hiring Vets Makes Good Business Sense

December 19, 2019
By Sheri Pepper

​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, 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 so little of the American population has served in the military—less than 10%—many people are unfamiliar with the hugely valuable skills and experience veterans have gained during their service. ​

 

Hire Veterans for Serious Skills and Experience

 

Leadership

 

​Many servicewomen and men are young when they join the service—51% of all US service members are under 25 when they enlist. Not long after joining, they are tasked with leading teams and managing others. They learn tactical skills like how to make decisions, plan, organize, and execute, but also core leadership skills like motivation and delegation. Moreover, 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 circumstances

 

Work Ethic

 

​The military builds strong work ethic in its service members. They are accustomed to being part of a mission-driven team with a myopic view of accomplishing their goal. The majority of service members are young when they join, and the service shapes their work ethic for life. There are no sick days or days off in the militaryduring deployment, and service members work nights, weekends, and holidays, no exception. Alongside the ‘get it done’ mentality, service members learn personal integrity and sense of urgency.

 

Diversity

 

​For the modern workplace, diversity is no longer a nice to have but a proven tool for competitive edge: HBR finds 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 with varied experiences which help them to 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 MarineJon Davis writes, the military is a sub-culture 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.” ​

 

Trainable

 

​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 advantageous for any industry sector and company. Much of the learning takes place on the fly, so vets have experience learning new skills and coming up to speed quickly.

 

Tax Credits

 

​In addition to hiring an individual with military discipline, leadership, and work ethic, hiring a veteran can save your organization serious money. The Obama administration collated a number of previously separate tax credits into the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits to address the high unemployment rates plaguing veterans. 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 help veterans ease the hurdles of debunking civilian jobs, translate job responsibilities and duties into military job codes that map to the job requirements with O*NET's Military-Civilian Crosswalk.

  • ​Improve your outreach: Send employees and hiring managers to job fairs to speak directly with veterans about their experience and post on veteran-specific job sites like GI Jobs and HireVeterans.com. ​

  • 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 with excellent work ethic and valuable experience. ​

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