What has four decades as an employer taught me about hiring and managing veterans? That it’s the smartest move I can make in terms of a stronger workforce and ROI. The simple fact is: Hiring vets makes more sense because of the unique qualities they bring to the table. I refer to these as the “Two-Zero Hero” or 20 reasons to hire a vet. We covered the first 10 reasons in the last issue. Let’s take a look at the NEXT 10 REASONS TO HIRE A VET:
11. Diversity and Blend: Vets have worked at close quarters with diverse races, genders, religious affiliations, and ethnicities, as well as different mindsets and physical capabilities. That exposure broadens their respect for different backgrounds, enabling them to bridge gaps to form strong teams toward a common goal.
12. Globalization Alertness: Vets are acutely aware of international implications pertinent to business. Most have traveled to places that the majority of the population will never see or experience. Consequently, they develop a blend of awareness and worldwide outlook that is focused on success.
13. Superior Technology Aptitude: Vets have been exposed to some of the most sophisticated equipment and processes available. Consequently, they have a greater appreciation for the application of technology than the average person, which makes it easier to embrace new technology.
14. Flex to Change: Constant deployments, new roles and responsibilities, and the flux and dynamic change of military situations condition the vet to appreciate and accept fluidity in the workplace. This makes them more apt and able to accept change than a non-veteran.
15. Decision Makers: Vets were trained to gather as much information as possible from a variety of sources and to make quick decisions on their feet. They learn the value of facts and data, but also value the sharpness of their intuition in making decisions. Ultimately, they understand the burden and consequences of making decisions and don’t shirk the responsibility.
16. Risk Wranglers: Vets have learned to embrace a certain level of personal risk-taking to accomplish a job, while respecting the threats and implications of those risks.
17. Fire in their Belly: Vets have learned to apply a sense of urgency to their tasks. While quality of execution is important—speed of execution is as well. This has enabled the vet to learn the power of swiftness in accomplishing tasks.
18. Dedicated: Vets have learned to embrace dedication to their team, their unit, their branch of service, and their country. They are used to being challenged and encouraged to demonstrate initiative. They have enviable work ethics and have managed to work long hours under grueling work conditions.
19. Incentive Bump: We, as employers, benefit in many tangible ways when hiring vets. One of which is through the tax credit reward for hiring vets. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations.
20. Our Obligation: After chartering them as warriors and sending them off, we, as a nation, have an obligation to acclimate them back into society. We owe them. The Two-Zero Hero List is by no means a complete list of the reasons why we should hire vets. Unfortunately there are many reasons why veterans are still struggling to find jobs, which are explored below.
The Two-Zero Hero List is by no means a complete list of the reasons why we should hire vets. Unfortunately there are many reasons why veterans are still struggling to find jobs, which are explored below.
One reason vets struggle to gain employment as a civilian is the difficulty converting military experience to a potential job need. Civilians won’t know how to translate all the military jargon and acronyms into something they can relate to. Unfortunately, many veterans haven’t learned how to translate their experiences into comparable civilian application. Employers that are often unclear as to the conversion of skills and experiences may revert back to a more comfortable position of passing over a veteran prospect.
Another issue is stereotyping by perspective employers. A common misconception about veterans is that many of them have post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, several years ago, 46 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cited PTSD and mental health issues as challenges of hiring employees with military experience.
PTSD is shared by about one fifth of veterans. My group, Vietnam vets, had the highest at 30 percent. But PTSD is commonly treatable. Many of the vets I have employed over the years had it and took meds to control it and never exhibited any disrupting characteristics.
The SRHM study found that many HR people believe that veterans, used to following orders, can’t take initiative and are too rigid. This is not true. Vets were conditioned to take orders but were also trained to think on their feet when orders were not always there. In fact, considerable training was focused on this ability to make quick decisions after gathering as much information as possible in short order.
Another concern, especially for Reservists and National Guardsmen, is redeployment or activation. Employers are concerned that redeployments will result in the loss of the time and training investment of vets. While the risk does exist, it’s certainly one than can be worked around and accommodated.
DEBT TO BE PAID
We sent our men and women warriors far off to distant shores to defend our principles, privileges, honor, and freedoms. They weren’t asked if they believed in the mission or in the values they were defending. They stepped forth so others would not have to.
Now, they have performed their duties and have returned. We, as a grateful society, should make every effort possible to thank them for their service and bring them back into the fold.
“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!” ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
About the Author: Preston Ingalls is president and CEO of TBR Strategies, LLC, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based maintenance and reliability firm specializing in the construction and oil and gas industries. Preston can be reached at , or visit www.tbr-strategies.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – December 2015
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