Each year Veterans’ Day affords Americans the opportunity to pay our respects to all who have served our country honorably during war and peacetime. What better way to honor veterans and their families than by helping them transition into the 21st Century civilian workforce and find jobs that are meaningful, provide security, and allow them to contribute their unique skills and experiences.
Many work-family concerns of military communities are similar to those confronting all employees. However, veterans and their families face unique issues like frequent deployments, physical or emotional trauma due to injuries from combat, transition and re-integration concerns, and re-tooling of skillsets.
Workflex initiatives give veterans more options for addressing their work-life needs as they consider caregiving demands, managing multiple benefits systems, and the emotional and physical stress of meeting those demands. Options like part-time work, flexible schedules and telework help veterans, and all employees, meet these work-life challenges. Like veterans, National Guard and Reserve personnel, and transitioning service members, military spouses can benefit from better assistance to achieve their personal career goals. Many are over-qualified and under-employed due to frequent moves with an active duty spouse.
Many employers have gone beyond the call of duty to attract, recruit, train and retain military veterans and their spouses and support their families. The veteran unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, down from 4.3 percent last October-the lowest veterans’ unemployment rate since 2000, according to the October 2017 Veteran Employment Update Veterans' Employment & Training Service U.S. Department of Labor.
SHRM and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) found that many employers have made the effort to adapt, addressing an issue that both organizations see as crucial to the country’s economic success, according to a 2013 report Employer Support for the Military Community. The report identified several workflex initiatives that employers are using to support veterans and their families. They include the following:
- enhancing employee assistance programs (EAPs) to include specialized support to help veterans combat unique issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or navigating reunion and subsequent deployments issues;
- providing veterans benefits to enhance financial well-being when experiencing adapting to changing financial circumstances;
- offering workplace flexibility programs like job-sharing and child care services;
- providing additional sick and vacation leave for separation and reunion events and Guard and Reserve duties and;
- creating veteran resource groups to help identify priorities for veterans in the organization and develop plans for addressing them.
In addition, some companies have instituted phase-in programs allowing veterans to begin working part-time and slowly increase their hours as they transition into civilian life. Educating staff about military issues through training and presentations, and partnering with veteran support organizations have also proved effective.
Over the past couple of years, Monster.com has identified the best companies for veterans based on hiring programs, onboarding, and retention practices. The 2017 list included Booz Allen Hamilton Headquarters in McLean, VA, and The Boeing Company.
Booz Allen Hamilton provides access to employee-led resource groups for career building purposes and maintains a Veteran Recruiting Center of Excellence (VRCE) with a specific talent acquisition team geared wholly to recruiting and retaining veterans, which comprise 29.8 percent of their entire workforce.
Boeing goes beyond requirements offering, all employees, including veterans up to 90 days unpaid leave that can be taken when an employee needs time off to care off for a family member when the employee is not eligible for FMLA. Workflex options including part-time, telecommuting, alternate work, and flexible work schedules are available. The Boeing Military & Veteran Engagement Team (BMVET) integrates Boeing’s efforts within the military and veterans’ communities, and it recently announced more than $25 million in support of veterans' recovery and rehabilitation programs and transition services.
The following 2017 When Work Works award winners and participants have deployed innovative programs and effective workplace practices to support veterans and their families:
Air Force Aid Society, Inc. (Arlington, VA) – The AFAS considers veterans as a part of their hiring practices. The organization contacts every base/post/fort transition assistance officer(s) located within the Airmen and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) and Military Readiness Centers (MRC); participates with A&FRC & MRC transition assistance programs; assists vets with resumes and interview techniques; and encourage veteran representation at career fairs.
AM Pierce & Associates (California, MD) – The company uses different types of recruitment methods via networks, military career transition programs, veteran's programs, social media, job boards, job fairs, and other practices to attract and retain veterans and their families.
American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) (Portland, OR) – This group has been recognized as a Top Military Friendly® School by G.I. Jobs magazine since 2009. ACHS programs are eligible for military tuition assistance and Veteran’s Education Benefit programs. The ACHS Military Resource Center was created to provide resources specifically to support the overall wellness of our military and veteran students. The college also offers additional financial support for eligible applicants through their Military Scholarship Program and participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.
KPMG (headquartered New York, NY) - The Veterans Network (ERG) has fostered an environment of inclusion that encourages the recruitment, retention, and success of current and former military service members and their family members within KPMG since 2012. With 23 chapters and over 1,700 members, the Veterans Network provides resources to support the development of those individuals and leveraging their diverse skill sets in serving our clients.
Navy's Credentials Program Office/Center for Information Warfare Training (Pensacola, FL) – Ninety-five percent of the Navy COOL staff is comprised of military veterans, supported across all levels of management, empowered to make decisions to improve practices, workflows, and customer support. Flexibility is encouraged with regard to work hours, processes, products for our customers.