At today’s SHRM Foundation’s Veterans At Work event at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, heads were nodding and pens were moving swiftly on note pads which translated into valuable pages of copious notes by the sessions end. This collaborative event had an extraordinary mission – activating veteran employment.
Why Is The Mission So Important?
Service members are separating from active duty in high rates, the Department of Defense estimates the numbers are between 230,000 to 250,000 annually. Transitioning from active duty to civilian life is a process. During this time, service members undergo major life transitions – whether it be moving to a different city, going on civilian job interviews (which can be a first for many) and leaving one of the strongest defense institutions in the world – they are leaving a family, and the process isn’t always simple.
In today’s session, it was clear that if employers want to hire veterans, HR professionals must also be prepared, educated on veteran’s issues and ready to recruit and introduce veterans to an inclusive work environment, which makes them feel welcome and part of the company family and mission.
“I’m a military spouse; therefore, hiring veterans is a passion of mine.” said Cindy Hargett, a Talent Partner at Edolent Health. Cindy approached her management with the idea of standing up a military hiring program that will fall under their companies diversity and inclusion group. Edolent Health has approximately 2800 employees and empowered Cindy to take the lead and attending the Veterans at Work Event will only bolster the success of the program.
Represented at the event were small and mid-size companies, which were partnered with larger companies that already have established military programs aimed at recruitment, retaining and training veterans. The small group sessions were collaborative and offered much advice, networking and direction as to how to drive veteran hiring programs.
What I loved most is the fact that no one held back, we must all tackle this mission together and to do so, sharing of information is a must. “think big and start small” was the advice that Myron Carter of MGM Resorts International left with the group. As we all know big ideas are great, but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that must be executed before the big idea starts its motion.