Veterans Bring Valuable Skills to the Workplace


“There’s a tremendous upside for hiring a vet. From a business case, it’s there. It’s there because of the discipline they have, the life experiences, the cultural exposure, the team mentality, the mission before self, their loyalty to an organization, their adaptability. They care about each other and care about people!” says Admiral Michael G. Mullen, USN (Ret.) Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The transition from a military career to a civilian career can be challenging. Unfortunately, unemployment for military members who have served our country since 9/11 remains high. There are, however, many employers that recognize the unique and invaluable skills of military members and are making special efforts to recruit and develop veterans as well as support their families.

That’s why this year, in conjunction with When Work Works’ 2016 When Work Works Award, SHRM and Families and Work Institute established the VET Spotlight (Veteran’s Employment Transition) to recognize employers making innovative and effective efforts to reach out to former service men and women, and their families.

The VET Spotlight shines a light on the best practices among employers who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to hiring and supporting veterans and their families.

The following 2016 When Work Works Award winners have sought to fulfill their hiring needs from the veteran community and help veterans returning to the civilian workplace. Here’s a sampling of their efforts: 

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) (Portland, OR) was named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine for the past six years. This honors the top 15% of colleges and universities who do the most to create opportunity for American veterans. ACHS accepts all military education benefits and offers a Military Scholarship for veterans and military spouses.

Bon Secours Virginia (Richmond, VA) participates in military-only job fairs and partners with and military transitional offices. This health system’s retention programs include supplemental pay; waiving of contributions to medical insurance premiums and continued use of child care centers while on active duty; access to their Stars and Stripes Employee Resource Group; and managers who stay connected to employees while they are deployed. In addition, their Family Focus program in Hampton Roads serves the greater military community.

Caliper Management (Princeton, NJ) supports veterans in the same manner in which they support the rest of their workforce: by offering flex time and flex place so their employees can find the work-life balance they seek. Reservists receive the time off needed to serve, and Caliper pays the difference between their regular pay and military pay. This is part of the consulting firm’s 2016 goal to improve their recruiting efforts here as a component of their diversity initiative.

FCI (Chantilly, VA) values the "can do" attitude of veterans and knows that as they transition into a civilian career, vets are not only seeking fresh, new opportunities, but also ones which will allow them to continue to make valuable, mission critical contributions like they did during their time in uniform. Sixty-five percent of FCI’s staff members are veterans, and the firm offers paid military leave and participates in various military community events. 

Health Management Systems of America (HMSA) (Detroit, MI) created, a nonprofit organization which is a one-stop shop online service for veterans. MyVetConnect has partnered with several organizations in the Metro Detroit area to provide services and assistance to their veterans in obtaining their benefits, employment and training. Through MyVetConnect, HMSA is able to assist the military community as well as reach many potential employee candidates. 

Kositzka, Wicks and Company (Alexandria, VA) employs several staff members who are spouses of military personnel. To support and retain them, this CPA firm offers telecommuting options after being relocated due to their spouse’s reassignment. Employees have then returned to the area to rejoin the office. The company also offers mentoring and coaching programs and focus groups — one specifically dedicated to workplace flexibility practices.

KPMGs (Across U.S.) recruiting team partners with local veteran organizations and with KPMG’s national veterans network which has local chapters across the U.S. to encourage the recruitment, retention and success of veterans and military service members (and their families).

Lexmark International (Lexington, KY) posts all of their openings on job boards and with groups that serve transitioning military. Each year, they attend many recruiting events geared toward veterans. Once on board, veterans at this tech firm can take advantage of the company’s progressive military leave policies, membership in their Veterans Association of Lexmark (VALORR) resource group and a variety of employee engagement and development opportunities.

Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, AZ) treats military leave as if the employee remained on the job in terms of seniority for vacation and other accrued benefits. The military employee at this high-tech firm is guaranteed a job at a grade and rate established at the time of re-employment.

Peckham Inc. (Lansing, MI) hired a vet specialist to help them recruit, onboard and support veterans. The specialist has also developed internal vet support groups which meet regularly and community initiatives for vets to “give back,” i.e., a car/bike show and a back-to-school book pack drive to give to local children of active service members.

Skylla Engineering Ltd. (Stafford, VA) holds recruiting events at military bases to attract employees from the military community. These events have contributed to Skylla's workforce being comprised of over 35% veterans. In an ongoing effort to develop their vet team, this employer offers tuition reimbursement to encourage continuing education or even career change options.

To see other best practices from When Work Works Award winners for recruiting and supporting military talent click HERE

And for additional resources on how to recruit more military employees see:

Becoming a Military-Ready Employer

Guide to Sourcing-Military-Connected Job Candidates

America's Heroes at Work — Veterans Hiring Toolkit

Do you have best practices for supporting military employees? Get recognized! Apply now for the 2016-2017 When Work Works Award! Applications will be accepted until November 18 at 6pm EST. For more information and to apply, click here



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