This Veteran’s Day, Training Industry is participating in a Veteran’s Support Symposium and Closing Bell Ceremony at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square. Co-hosted by Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG) at West Point (a company that offers leadership and ethics training based on the U.S. Army’s leadership philosophy and values), the event will include networking and a roundtable discussion on hiring veterans.
Why is this important? Aside from the benefits to the veterans of having the opportunity to develop their careers after serving their country, veterans bring skills and experiences that employers are already looking for. A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that over 50 percent of employers believe veterans bring these qualities to the job: “disciplined approach to hard work,” “ability to work as a team,” “respect and integrity,” “ability to perform under pressure,” and “leadership skills.” Deloitte research has found that the veteran workforce is 4 percent more productive and 3 percent less likely to leave the organization than the non-veteran workforce.
Dan Rice, president of TLDG at West Point, says that veterans can bring a high return on investment to their employers because of their teamwork skills, leadership, resilience, commitment, passion and experience. Veterans, he says, have formal leadership development training, a real understanding of how to work on diverse teams, and “an inherent servant-style leadership philosophy that can contribute to any organization.” They’re also quick learners, since they typically changed jobs multiple times while serving in the military, taking on more responsibility each time.
In June, ManpowerGroup announced a partnership with Rockwell Automation to upskill 1,000 veterans for advanced manufacturing roles. Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell Automation, said in the press release, “Military veterans possess a unique combination of technical savvy and core work skills that makes them well-positioned for careers in today’s advanced manufacturing environments.”
An additional benefit to organizations is appealing to the in-demand millennial generation. Rice points out that since most veterans now are millennials, hiring veterans can help organizations market themselves to millennial employees and customers. Additionally, this fall, President Trump signed into law the Forever GI Bill, which enhanced veteran benefits for post-9/11 (millennial) veterans, and Rice says it makes veterans even more attractive employees than they were before. The bill offers more opportunities for free education, and by helping veterans – and their spouses – take advantage of them, Rice says that employers are gaining better educated employees who have also made sacrifices for their country.
Training and Supporting Military Personnel in the Workplace
Rice says veterans tend to seek value-based organizations like the military, with a clear mission. When training new veteran employees, he recommends making sure there’s clear communication about the mission and values of the organization. When veterans understand and connect with the mission and understand how their role fits in, they’re more likely to be productive and stay with the organization for a longer time. He also recommends laying out a career path for them; roles with a leadership component or “a pathway toward leadership” are especially appealing for veterans.
ManpowerGroup Solutions researchers make several recommendations for hiring and retaining veterans, including these:
- Provide training to HR on being aware of cultural bias and understanding how to match veterans’ skills and experience to their jobs.
- Provide “customized orientations and clearly articulated performance expectations.”
- Recruit high-performing current employees who are veterans or spouses of veterans to serve as mentors, helping new employees “understand the unspoken rules of the workplace and career advancement opportunities.” Larger organizations can also create internal veteran networks for support.
The Rockwell Automation program blends classroom training with laboratory experience as well as the company’s MyPath program, which uses assessments, training, career coaching and other tools to help clients build their skills and provide access to jobs.
In addition to manufacturing, technology is a popular field for veteran training initiatives. Reporting Texas says that the tech industry “satisfies veterans’ needs for challenges and a sense of purpose, while their work ethic and abilities are well suited for the technology industry.” In fact, The Honor Foundation, which helps Navy SEALS and other Special Operations Forces veterans transition to working as civilians, places more veterans in tech than in any other field. Susan Morris, senior vice president of Advanced Business Learning, Inc., suggests that training veterans for cybersecurity jobs can help fill the skills gap in that area and also help them “continue their mission of protecting the country.”
Specific initiatives in the tech industry include the Amazon Veterans Apprenticeship Program, launched in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor in January; Samsung Electronics America’s program with Warriors4Wireless and VetsinTech, launched last year to provide technical training to active duty military members and veterans; Vetforce, a program for veterans and military spouses to earn Salesforce certification and connections to employment opportunities; and the first-ever hackathon for female veterans, hosted by Facebook in 2014.
Whether it’s in technology, manufacturing or any other industry (Rice says the skills learned in the military are transferrable across the board), hiring and training veterans, active military members and their family members is not only good for the country, but it’s good for business, as well.