(BPT) - Veterans served and sacrificed during their military careers to protect our freedom and keep us safe. When it's time to transition to civilian work, their next mission is often to find a job just as fulfilling. Employers across the country can help by considering the immense value veterans bring to the workforce and creating hiring initiatives that position these hard-working people for success.
National Hire a Veteran Day is July 25, and serves as a good reminder of the many transferable skills that veterans bring to the civilian workforce, no matter the industry or vocation:
- Leadership: Veterans go through specialized training in the military to develop their leadership skills. These skills are tested and grow over time. Hiring a veteran means hiring someone trained to lead, even under pressure.
- Agility: Change is expected in the military, so veterans are flexible and resilient. Especially during challenging times, they are trained to step back, survey what's happening, and adjust quickly.
- Collaboration: Teamwork is core to success in the military. Throughout their careers, service members work with a variety of people — of different ages and backgrounds — to accomplish a shared task. Veterans know the importance of achieving a collective mission.
- Risk assessment: In the military, people are trained to take calculated risks. They need to look at different options and choose the best one to achieve success. The ability to assess risk, make a decision, and follow through is valuable in civilian careers.
- Integrity and ethics: Acting in a moral manner, whether on the battlefield or on base, is a key part of being in the military. Veterans bring a high level of integrity to any job they do, holding themselves accountable to the highest ethical standard.
“Veterans were trained to adapt and overcome various challenges, and those distinctive qualities are not lost as they navigate their civilian career journey,” said Tom Kastner, vice president of financial wellness at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). “We encourage employers to consider veterans for their open roles because their skills often translate well in the workplace and contribute to the success of organizations.”
Supporting veterans in the workplace
Hiring a veteran means you get a specially trained employee who brings valuable skills and more to the job. However, the transition from military to civilian life can still be difficult, especially for wounded veterans.
According to WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was about 3% in August 2021, and the unemployment rate for the wounded, ill and injured warriors WWP serves was about 13% in that same timeframe.
WWP’s Warriors to Work® program helps veterans and employers navigate the transition to the civilian workforce and focuses on sustained employment for both parties. Veterans participating in the program learn the skills necessary to find meaningful employment through no-cost career counseling, resume writing assistance, networking opportunities, and more. The program also helps veterans for the duration of their new jobs.
For employers, Warriors to Work provides education and information about the transferrable skills veterans bring to the civilian workforce and advice to help increase retention. WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey, for example, found that warriors employed by companies offering a resource group or veteran mentorship program are more likely to be professionally fulfilled. This helps veterans transition and thrive in the workforce while providing the support needed to succeed long term.
An active advocate for veteran employment and these best practices is CSX, a transportation company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Nearly 1 in 5 CSX employees served in the U.S. military in some capacity, and many continue to hold Reserve or National Guard status.
“At CSX, our goal is to be the best-run railroad in North America, and we cannot do that without the best people. This is why we are committed to recruiting, supporting and retaining veteran employees,” said Brian Morgan, senior military talent advisor at CSX. “As a military-friendly employer, we understand the valued experience and technical skills that service members bring to the logistics and transportation sector, and we are eager to have them on the CSX team. CSX offers a wide range of benefits for our veteran employees, including a military business resource group that provides resources and mentors to help with the transition to civilian life.”
Veterans served proudly, and many are now ready to take the next step by finding a civilian career. The unique skills that veterans bring into the workplace illustrate not only why they are great employees, but also how they can grow your business. Today serves as a good reminder for the entire year that expanded recruitment efforts and strong veteran employee programs can help businesses thrive in today’s ever-changing workplace.