Through Hiring Our Heroes, our employment partners access ready-to-work job candidates with leadership skills and diverse perspectives. These men and women thrive in a team environment. They are adaptable, have a strong work ethic, and are loyal employees.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes refers to this talent pool as “military talent.”
Specifically, military talent is comprised of veterans who may have served for as few as four years. Conversely, it includes soldiers, sailors, and Marines that served for more than 20 years. Military talent is also spouses and caregivers.
Now that you know who military talent is, you wonder, “why your organization should hire veterans and military spouses?”
For the answers, we asked Veteran Employment Advisory Council members to share the benefits of hiring military veterans and spouses. Here is what they told us.
Military Veterans Have the Skills
Repeatedly, our employment partners said leadership is the most important skill veterans brings to their organizations.
“All branches of service invest heavily in leadership development at all ranks, and they put those skills to the test with incredibly demanding roles,” said Dave Johnston, director of Continuous Improvement and Step Change at Arconic.
But leadership is only one skill in a long list of qualities military talent brings to the workplace.
“Work ethic, leadership, adaptability, versatility, adherence to an ethical code of conduct, and a drive to succeed are some pretty good reasons to hire veterans and military spouses,” Johnston said.
Arconic attracts talent from all military branches by recruiting at Hiring Our Heroes Career Summits. Our Career Summits, held at military installations throughout the world, provide military-ready employers with the opportunity to connect with service members before they leave the Armed Forces.
Arconic needs job applicants who are ready and willing to work in a manufacturing environment. They find them at Hiring Our Heroes’ hiring events.
“Veterans must be able to work in teams, learn new skills quickly, adapt to changes rapidly, and they always strive for ‘mission accomplished.’ In the Armed Forces, there are no awards given for second place,” Johnston said. “The military is a hands-on learning organization where skills learned are skills put to use. So, when you hire a veteran, you know you are hiring someone with experience.”
Valuable Assets Benefiting Any Employer, Industry
Kristin Saboe, Senior Manager of Employee Listening and Talent Strategy at Boeing, said that leadership and integrity — critical skills common in military talent — are cultivated in the Armed Forces.
“The proven leadership, commitment to purpose, camaraderie, and selflessness that these men and women demonstrate are valuable assets that benefit Boeing or any employer,” Saboe said.
What skills do veterans have? It depends on the individual. But John McGarrity, executive director of Talent Delivery Programs at USAA, pointed out service members attend more than weapons training. They are experts in their fields to support large operative teams, aggregate data, or analyze complex data to formulate action plans.
“In some cases, the employer has a lot of skill requirements and there’s an opportunity to match skill for skill. Then, the employer doesn’t have to make that investment in the employee,” McGarrity said. “A veteran comes into the office on day one with those skills.”
A veteran comes into the office on day one with skills.John McGarrity, Executive Director, Talent Delivery Programs, USAA
Military Spouses Use Leadership Skills in Their Daily Lives
In contrast to the formal training that service members receive, and in addition to their own careers, military spouses receive their training through unique, and often stressful, life experiences.
“There are a lot of management and leadership skills developed through experiences that come with relocations and deployments. Many military spouses use leadership qualities in their daily lives, and they don’t even realize it,” McGarrity said. “Military spouses may not have the same formal training, but they have the skills. The skills may be hard to quantify, but they are concrete and meaningful.”
Managing multiple deployments and relocations, military spouses become adept at scheduling multiple deadlines to meet end goals, negotiating with multiple parties to meet those goals, and balancing budgets to ensure the moves are affordable to the family.
Military Spouses Have the Potential
Alongside the demonstrated skills, hiring managers said the next thing they noticed about military talent is they are self-starters and problem-solvers.
These vital skills are difficult to quantify on a resume. Yet, these are exactly the skills military spouses gain through military life.
“When military spouses see a gap, they step in and fill it,” McGarrity said.
Jim Beamesderfer, vice president of veterans initiatives at Prudential Financial, said that military spouses bring their self-starter skills to the workplace.
“We don’t hire military talent out of charity. We do it because it makes great business sense,” he said. “[Prudential] wants to raise our talent average with each new hire and hiring military talent helps us do that.”
We don’t hire military talent out of charity. We do it because it makes great business sense.Jim Beamesderfer, Vice President, Veterans Initiatives, Prudential Financial
Military Veterans Are More Likely to Stay
A Society for Human Resource Management study found the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129. But typically employees spend five years or less in a job, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report.
For that reason, retention is a focus for many human resources departments. Retention is another benefit of hiring military veterans and spouses.
“The time commitment associated with recruiting skew in favor of veterans,” said Julie Barnes, director of Recruiting and Licensing at First Command.
Barnes cited an Orion Talent’s Veteran Hiring Survey. Candidates with military experience are more likely to be hired and more likely to accept a job offer, according to the survey results. Also, they are more likely to stay at the company for a longer period of time than those without a military background.
“What organization would not benefit from having more self-motivated people with superior work habits, technical and leadership experience, and composure under pressure? Especially if those people are more likely to stick around?” Barnes said. “With all these positives, it’s no surprise that organizations are upping the ante on veteran recruiting initiatives.”