Hiring Veterans – Overcoming Stigma Leads to Success

One of the best moves a company can make when attempting to diversify its workforce is to hire veterans. Veterans are skilled employees, known for their dedication, drive, and loyalty. But despite the positive impact they bring to organizational productivity and standards, stigma often gets in the way of hiring. Employers are sometimes reluctant to take on the challenges that come with hiring and training vets, strongly contributing to the unemployment rate among veterans.

When hired for a position that both matches their skill-set and allows for adjustment to civilian life, veterans are often top performers. Among the most disciplined and loyal workers, they regularly slip into leadership roles, falling back on their training in collaboration and teamwork to unintentionally motivate those around them. Organizations that adequately leverage this ambition and drive are able to prompt a rise in standards for other employees, encouraging the employees to push themselves farther and creating a rise in standards for the entire organization.

In addition to the benefits that directly affect the workforce, hiring veterans is an excellent way to boost an organization’s public reputation. Not only does making a point to hire veterans give the organization the opportunity to express its dedication to their civic responsibility and community but improved standards allow the business to function better, improving the organizational image overall. Studies show that this allows for further engagement with the community, improving employee morale and dedication.

The positive effects of hiring a veteran are undebatable, but often the challenges associated with the process push employers to seek employees elsewhere. Among the largest challenges faced by organizations when looking to hire veterans are the inability to find qualified veteran applicants and confusion that comes with translating military skills to a civilian position. While these challenges may immediately seem insurmountable, the number of tools online make the process almost seamless. Many resources, found through a quick Google search, provide a host of tools and information to help with attracting, training, and hiring former military.

From the Society for Human Resources Management to the Department of Labor, resources are available, providing a step by step guide to finding and hiring veterans. Job boards and career fairs geared specifically toward veterans returning to civilian life from military service, making beginning the process simple. Resources like the Department of Labor’s Veteran Job Board allow organizations to easily post their openings and contact local veterans. These tools may be an additional step in the hiring process, but will result in a well-equipped employee that is an asset to your organization.

Finding the right fit for a veteran in your organization is key but often hiring managers have difficulty translating military skills into skills needed for a civilian position. Poor skill matches result in unqualified hires, and as for any employee, create an inability for the employee to succeed. Because this is often the case when hiring veterans, stereotypes run rampant, further pushing employers away from considering vets for open positions. While stigma can be hard to overcome, research shows that when a good match is made veterans become excellent employees, contributing to the success of any organization. To help with this process, resources like vets.gov offer tools such as the Veterans Skills Translator, giving hiring managers a simple way to translate veteran skills and ensure a successful hire.

While hiring veterans is not without its challenges, there is no doubt that they bring an energy and dedication that is unmatched in its potential to better an organization. With online resources, programs like Boots to Business, and tax-incentives like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the process is made simple and beneficial to anyone willing to overcome these challenges. Next time you’re looking to hire, take advantage of these resources and take a chance on a vet. Chances are it will benefit your organization more than you could imagine.

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