Whether you realize it or not, hundreds of thousands of individuals leave the U.S. military every single year. For many, the process of returning home and resuming the daily grind of everyday life can be an incredibly stressful and trying time.
Even the things we normally take for granted, such as finding and keeping a full-time job, can seem impossible. As employers, it’s important that you cater to military veterans in order to make them feel welcome, to maximize their potential and to drive the productivity of your business.
Create Awareness of Requirements and Benefits of the Workforce
Your company’s embrace of military service begins the moment a newly hired veteran walks in the door. Start by briefing your new employee on the nuances of the workforce, especially if they’ve never held a civilian position. Covering the expectations and requirements of the job right off the bat can save a lot of frustration down the road.
Next, make sure your newly hired veteran understands their pay, benefits and any other perks. Ensure they’re up to date on the concept of overtime as well as the increased pay for those who exceed 40 hours in a regular workweek.
You may even consider transition assistance or civilian workplace culture training, both of which can go a long way in easing the entire process. If nothing else, this provides veterans with the opportunity to seek further assistance if needed.
Some companies also run veteran-specific recruitment and hiring programs, which work with contacts in the U.S. military in order to source workers from their available talent pools. Not only does this give you the ability to choose from a plethora of qualified military veterans, but many of them have also received advanced training or education in specific areas of expertise.
Promote Teamwork Within Your Organization
Above all else, the United States Armed Forces stresses the importance of teamwork. Most veterans excel in highly structured, team-oriented environments, and many have already developed strong skills in team-building and, in many cases, team leadership. As such, it’s important to place military veterans within roles that put an emphasis on teamwork.
Retired military personnel also make great team leaders. By consistently demonstrating values in discipline, perseverance, adaptability and hard work, military veterans have a record of success in nearly every type of role imaginable. While it may not be possible to place a new hire into a leadership role right from the start, it’s easy to set them up for future roles of increasing responsibility, giving them the opportunity to earn a higher title on their own.
Utilize Multidisciplinary and Cross-Functional Skill Sets
Former military personnel are also known as multidisciplinary and cross-functional individuals that can participate in simultaneous projects without affecting their performance. Moreover, their high levels of confidence and motivation are known to boost the morale of peers and teammates.
The combination of hard and soft skills that are instilled in today’s military veterans are a boon to any company that values personal accountability, a willingness to take charge when necessary and the ability to solve problems on the fly.
Maintain Communication at All Times
Military veterans are highly communicative people, both in and out of the workplace. As much of their training involves impeccable communication and strict regulations, they’re already used to diligence and timeliness. Furthermore, many military veterans are able to speak more than one language, which may come in handy when working with international contacts or business partners.
While it’s critical to communicate with all of your employees on a regular and consistent basis, military veterans will actually use your feedback as a means of assessing their own strengths and weaknesses, making the necessary adjustments and exceeding your expectations.
Moreover, they’ll often demonstrate a willingness to provide their own feedback as necessary. You don’t necessarily have to implement all their suggestions or recommendations, but make sure to respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Failure to do so could be counterproductive to the rest of your veteran recruitment strategies.
Gain Tax Incentives for Your Company
Although the benefit of certain tax incentives shouldn’t be your sole motivation for hiring military veterans, the advantages of increased tax savings shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, that are currently four distinct types of tax credits that are available to the average U.S.-based company.
Firstly, new hires who maintained employment with your company for at least 27 consecutive weeks may yield a credit of up to $2,400 under the U.S. government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC. To be eligible, however, the worker in question must have worked at least 400 hours during this period. Employees who accumulate 120 hours may still result in a tax credit of up to $1,500.
Secondly, companies that hire veterans who have been utilizing unemployment compensation for a period of greater than six months are eligible for a 40% credit on the first $6,000 of the employee’s wages. This amount is capped at $5,600.
The final two tax credits are available through the Wounded Warrior Project, which offers various services to wounded servicemen and women. Similar to the first two incentives, these offer employers a maximum credit of up to $4,800 for employed veterans with disabilities and up to $9,600 in tax relief for companies who hire disable veterans who have received unemployment benefits for longer than six months.
Achieve National Recognition
Finally, your long-term hiring and utilization of retired military personnel can help your company gain exposure and ultimately achieve national recognition. While you certainly don’t want to take advantage of your employees’ merits for your own gain, a certain amount of natural recognition will surely manifest itself those who actively recruit and hire former military personnel.
Not only does this put you in a great position to create awareness about a specific issue or cause, but you can even use the opportunity to generate support for the causes your veterans are already passionate about. This is a foolproof way to cultivate a solid connection with your employees as well as the community at large.
In fact, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, regularly promotes and advertises for a nationwide network of companies that actively recruit military veterans. Other brands provide lists of military-friendly employers and more and similar promotional services.
Strengthening Your Business With Military Veterans
Any way you look at it, military veterans have a lot to offer the modern workforce. Strong attention to detail, unwavering motivation and high sense of accountability are just a few of the advantages to hiring former military personnel to fill your company’s roster. In order to realize the full benefits, however, you’ll just have to hire a veteran and find out for yourself.