Many companies have efforts to hire Veterans because they feel it’s the right thing to do, or to diversify the workforce. However, the more compelling - and less talked about - reason is that companies that consistently seek out vets do so because they realise that veterans come to the table with certain intangible skills that aren’t easily found in non-veterans. Skills such as leadership, dedication, organizational skills, the ability to work as a team, or the ability to handle adversity are just some of the many traits that come standard with veterans. Below are my list of the top five reasons to hire veterans. If you are a recruiter or in a position to affect your company’s hiring practices, I urge you to take heed and if possible try to institute a formal program to hire more vets - not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because your company will benefit greatly.
Leadership comes naturally to veterans. Because of the institutionalized rank structure of the military, every veteran is forced to assume formal or informal leadership roles on a daily basis. They lead informally by example as well as formally through direction and delegation. By age 21 most young enlisted military members have more experience leading groups and planning exercises than the vast majority of their civilian peers.
In the military almost nothing gets accomplished alone. Teamwork is ingrained in vets from the moment they join. If your company requires workers to collaborate with a diverse group of individuals, accommodate varying personality traits, and be a strong link in the chain, all while reaching across different organizational components to accomplish a task, no one is better suited than a veteran.
Diversity and Inclusion in Action
The military is a giant melting pot, and is far more diverse than most large companies can every dream to be. From the moment these young men and women step foot in the military they are forced to eat, sleep and work with veterans from all ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds. Through these bonding experiences they gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of various cultures, and in the process shed unhealthy stereotypes that many non-veterans carry with them far into adulthood.
Performance under Pressure
The ability to deal with pressure and adversity comes pretty standard when hiring veterans. They are specifically trained to operate in a disciplined manner while under duress in anticipation of them having to do so in times of war. Most veterans are so accustomed to operating under pressure - often making life or death situations, that there is virtually no civilian situation - whether it be tight deadlines or low resources - that can make them become unhinged or flustered.
Vets have gained a unique perspective on the value of structure and organization. They understand how having sound policies and procedures yield efficiency and productivity. After spending several years in the military, they develop an expectation of order. From the moment they entered the military everything was organized “dress-right-dress” - meaning lined up in order. This appreciation for structure will lead them to institute similar procedures in your organization, and reduce variations in productivity.
Now Available: Military to Civilian Transition Toolkit