Last Updated 5 months by Emily Standley-Allard
Ever wonder what the best types of employees your business could have? Military veterans are some of the most dedicated, hardworking and skilled employees you can hire. Their deep love of country often translates into caring about what they contribute to society. They see hard work as a way of adding value.
Companies who hire veterans also have an opportunity to give back to families who’ve sacrificed to serve their country. Doing so not only helps the local area but shows customers you have your own sense of patriotism and pride.
Veterans are defined as anyone who has served in a branch of the military or National Guard but aren’t currently serving. Around 16.5 million people in the United States fall into this category.
Even though rumors say veterans are excellent people to hire, what are the reasons and is that always the case? Here are some of the most common characteristics of former military personnel that make them excellent people in a business setting.
1. Supported by Community
Veterans have resources civilians do not that help them acclimate back into society. They may have an exit strategy in place ensuring they get the most out of their time in the military and know how to add their skills to a resume or conduct themselves in a job interview.
Other things a veteran might have that makes them an excellent employee with tons of support include:
- A community of other military people
- Family excited to have them back home
- Access to loans to help them get into a home
- Ability to take classes that are paid for from their time in service
The support offered to honorably discharged veterans can spur them toward success. They won’t have the worries some entry-level employees might have.
2. Proud of Organization
Those who’ve served in the military had to learn to work as a team with their unit. They have an understanding of:
- How their actions impact the organization
- Ways mistakes hurt the entire team
- How to find solutions and compromises
- Doing things for the good of the many
The ability to look at long-term impact from immediate decisions makes veterans excellent employees who can contribute to nearly any department in the company.
The military tends to cross-train soldiers to have skills across a range of areas. One of the reasons former military make excellent staff members is because they are:
- Skilled in a variety of disciplines
- Highly trained
Soldiers are trained to think on their feet. They know how to get the job done and think outside the box. In the military, knowing how to come up with solutions can mean the difference between life and death.
If a veteran can make fast and excellent judgment calls when it means someone’s life, they can certainly choose the best course of action for a sales call or dealing with an irate customer.
Making it through basic training requires discipline and focus. Soldiers must put their physical and emotional needs aside and get the job done. Some things to keep in mind as you choose where to place them in your company:
- They might overwork themselves, so assign tasks and downtime to prevent burnout.
- If the soldier was in active combat, they may still deal with triggers. Keep the lines of communication open and establish procedures they can follow if they feel overwhelmed.
- Veterans thrive in highly regulated environments with clear expectations and schedules.
- They are used to checking off a list, so give them to-dos and project management tools to keep them on track.
Many employees struggle with mental health, whether they’ve served in the military or not. Make mental health a priority in your company so veterans don’t feel singled out, but also have resources to help them if they are struggling with the unique challenges of reacclimating to civilian life.
Most veterans come out of the military with a routine. They are motivated to complete tasks set in front of them but may not be good at taking the mental health breaks they need. Ensure they do by adding things such as lunch and professional development to their schedule.
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The military drills loyalty to country and unit into soldiers’ brains. You’ll find veterans as employees are:
- Dedicated to fulfilling their commitments.
- Willing to step up and do whatever it takes to succeed.
- Caring toward coworkers and management.
- Committed to their families and friends.
Keep in mind that some veterans were gone for months on end. They may want to make up for lost time with their partners, children and extended family.
Give them enough time off to go to the school play they missed during their service.
Offer them personal days to rebuild relationships with those they love most. Encourage them to participate in company family events and get to know everyone.
Veterans are often very flexible. The military offers a number of advantages those outside the program might not experience. They are used to an inclusive atmosphere with people from different backgrounds and cultures and are used to having to adapt to new things.
Veterans are trained to think on their feet and pivot quickly when problems arise.
Soldiers also have to compromise with those on their team while also taking orders from superiors. They’ll be less likely to balk at new ideas and more likely to try to get everyone on board.
Take a Chance on a Veteran
At first glance, you might think former soldiers have a very limited skill set. They’ve trained to be a fighter.
However, the United States military crosstrains in multiple disciplines, including computer use and mechanical skills. Spend time talking to the job candidate about their time and what tasks they can share.
You might be surprised at what translates into viable skills in the civilian workforce.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.
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