Why Hiring Veterans is a Good Investment
First of all, Please leave a comment with any other skills and reasons for hiring veterans that you can think of!
Before I joined the military, I didn’t “get” why companies would want to hire a veteran.
Seriously, I thought what makes veterans any different from anyone else? Well, although I only served four years in the military, I certainly figured out what the big deal is.
Here’s a short list, based on my own experience and observations while serving in the military, highlighting some of the qualities that veterans bring to a workplace which employers might not have considered before.
Some of these skills and characteristics aren’t measurable or concrete…they’re just part of the natural day-to-day operations that comes with military service.
This list is definitely NOT comprehensive and it’s in plain English, as I’m intentionally avoiding traditional military terms for employers who may not have had military service.
These qualities are in no particular order….
The military is all about training. Veterans entering the workforce already have a sense of efficient organizational order. Not only do they come with basic organizational training, they’ve had specialized training to hone their job skills. Also, the military promotes cross-training, so learning skills outside of their designated MOS/job is actually encouraged.
Veterans are used to learning more, which means learning new systems, programs or new rules for a civilian employer is welcomed.
2. PERFORM WELL UNDER PRESSURE
Hiring a veteran ensures that you’re hiring someone who is used to functioning well under pressure. Any pressure in the civilian world seems like a piece of cake compared to the pressure that military members have endured.
Not only have veterans had extensive formal instruction and training in their specialty, they’ve likely utilized their educational benefits to further their academic career.
If they haven’t achieved an educational goal yet, they’ve got the resources to access higher education. More education makes for well-rounded employees, and the opportunity for professional growth in a company.
An educated workforce only makes businesses better. .
They’ve been in a work culture where every task they perform is checked to make sure it’s done by the book. The military has regular audits and inspections.
Perfecting tasks is expected because lives are at stake if errors are made. Every military member has detailed performance review on a regular basis, and they take the feedback they receive on the review to improve in their role.
It is because of this that veterans take their jobs seriously and hold themselves accountable to perform a job well done.
5. ADAPTABLE & FLEXIBLE
Every veteran has worked in less than desirable conditions, such as…
- in the rain
- in intense heat
- icy conditions
- dangerous conditions
- loud environments
- for extended periods of time
- wearing uncomfortable protective gear
- working under different superiors
- working with new people
- training new people
- last minute schedule or location changes which impacts everything
- oh and let’s not forget working in various locations on the map
Every veteran has learned to adapt and overcome, and to make the best of less than perfect circumstances.
Being in the military definitely takes a person out of their comfort zone in many ways, which means being adaptable is just part of the military DNA.
Sometimes we’re so adaptable that we just go with the flow even when we could ask for upgrades to our civilian work situation.
A personal example of this is when I worked for three years at an organization with a very old, uncomfortable desk chair and never complained about it. I came back to visit several weeks after leaving that job and much to my surprise, the person who filled my position already had a very comfy, very nice brand new chair at her desk! Ha!
Sometimes we veterans can be a little too adaptable, I suppose. But we’re definitely adaptable.
The military is made up of people from all over….and when I say all over, I don’t just mean the United States.
Being stationed in various countries is one way many military members become acquainted with other cultures, but it’s also because tens of thousands of our military brothers and sisters are immigrants, and many aren’t yet U.S. citizens.
Imagine how much courage it takes to move to a new country and join that new country’s military.
And think of all the different cultures and backgrounds we have in the United States…they’re all represented in the military. We get to know and become close friends with many people from totally different cultures, ethnicity and economic backgrounds.
Veterans often have developed valuable friendships from so many corners of the earth, and we respect and value others because of it.
These relationships create memorable experiences and close bonds. This is also the reason my husband and I have both eaten chocolate covered ants, by the way!
7. TEAM PLAYERS
The military is accustomed to working with big equipment and large-scale missions. Even though one person may have a specific task, they’re part of a crew that is working towards a larger goal.
When one person finishes their task, they’re usually expected to help someone else.
It’s a team effort.
Military jets don’t get in the air without an entire crew. Ships don’t get underway without an entire crew. Veterans are willing to jump in and lend a hand wherever it’s needed. The military naturally creates team players.
Very closely related to being a team player is the idea that employees may be expected to pitch in and perform “other duties as assigned.” Everyone in the military has done jobs that they didn’t actually sign up to do.
Performing tasks outside of our usual job duties is something that the military takes seriously and we all started our military journey being expected to do tasks that were outside of our specific MOS or job description.
At some point in time, we’ve all stood watch outside of our normal work schedule and on holidays. We’ve all helped out another shop to help meet a deadline.
We’ve all volunteered in the community.
We’ve probably all mopped and waxed the floors. The military promotes this type of commitment to others.
So when an employer asks a veteran to help out on a project that isn’t normally part of their duties, or serve on a committee that isn’t in the job description, you’ll likely have an eager participant.
8. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Any military situation can present complications that are unsafe.
Whether on the battlefield or an airfield, members of the military are trained
to keep their heads on a swivel and be aware of and prepared for potential
dangers. Safety is a big factor in all aspects of military
This type of situational awareness easily translates to the civilian world in the form of safety records.
9. TAX CREDITS
Employers might be eligible for thousands of dollars in tax credits by hiring veterans through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
How does this work?
First, the veteran must be eligible and request a WOTC certificate. This can be accomplished by calling the Texoma Workforce Commission and speaking with the Veterans Career Advisor 903-463-9997 ext 654. Employers submit IRS forms to the Texas Workforce Commission (usually within 28 days of the employee’s start date.)
Employer instructions can be found here. www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/wotc/wotc.html
Here are the basic requirements according to the IRS: For more details about hiring veterans under the WOTC, visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-12-13.pdf
A “qualified veteran” is a veteran who is any of the following:
- A member of a family receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps) for at least 3 months during the first 15 months of employment.
- Unemployed for a period totaling at least 4 weeks (whether or not consecutive) but less than 6 months in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
- Unemployed for a period totaling at least 6 months (whether or not consecutive) in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
- A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability hired not more than one year after being discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability who is unemployed for a period totaling at least six months (whether or not consecutive) in the one-year period ending on the hiring date.
See IRS Notice 2012-13 (PDF) for more detailed eligibility information.
10. DISTINGUISHED EMPLOYER
Employers who are dedicated to hiring veterans may be nominated for a
distinguished employer award through the Department of Labor’s new initiative,
HIRE Vets Medallion Program.
According to the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, criteria for recognition vary by level (Platinum or Gold) and employer size (Large, Medium, and Small). However, the criteria for most of the awards are based upon the following measures:
- Percentage of new hires during the previous year that are veterans
- Percentage of veteran employees retained for a period of at least 12 months;
- Percentage of employees who are veterans;
- Provision of an employee veteran organization or resource group to assist new veteran employees with integration, including coaching and mentoring;
- Provision of programs to enhance the leadership skills of veteran employees during their employment;
- Employment of a dedicated human resources professional or initiatives to support hiring, training, and retention of veteran employees;
- Provision of compensation, to employees serving on active duty in the United States National Guard or Reserve, that is sufficient, in combination with the employee’s active duty pay, to achieve a combined level of income commensurate with the employee’s salary prior to undertaking active duty;
- Provision of a tuition assistance program to support veteran employees’ attendance in post secondary education during the term of their employment; and
- Employer with an adverse labor law decision, stipulated agreement, contract debarment, or contract termination, as defined in the rule, pursuant to either of the following labor laws will not be eligible to receive an Award: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA); or Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).
WHAT HAVE I MISSED?
I’m sure I’ve missed tons of qualities that can be added to this list. So PLEASE leave a comment with your own opinion of what positive qualities veterans bring to the civilian workplace!