Including veterans as part of a diversity and inclusion strategy is not only possible, it’s beneficial.
For veterans making a transition from their service in uniform to the civilian world it’s not an easy process. Neither is its success guaranteed. Regardless of their branch of service, veterans share some unique attributes that civilian workers do not have. In the military new processes or changes to existing ones are commonplace and even expected. In the Marine Corps, Marines learn to embrace change and to “improvise, adapt and overcome” any challenge they may encounter. Veterans have a variety of skills and abilities that are compatible with nearly any working environment. These include attention to detail and working in a team environment, among others. Business leaders often seem to overlook these qualities, however. A veteran diversity and inclusion strategy can help overcome this.
Veterans are a rich and invaluable source of talent for employers. However, there still seems to be some disconnect when it comes to actually completing the transition. It’s difficult to tell if this comes from a lack of preparation on the military side, or perhaps a function of misplaced expectations on the civilian employment side. There is one point that is significantly important for people who have never served in uniform to understand. That military service is not a job. Rather, it’s a unique environment and a completely different culture.
In support of veteran diversity and inclusion, VeteransEnterprise.com features a Job Search Engine to help veterans find opportunities to capitalize on their experience and expertise.
Business is taking a fresh look at veteran diversity and inclusion
In November 2020, American Express’ Alexandra Levit examined the idea of veterans making their transition to civilian life. Their blog article explores the idea from the standpoint of diversity and inclusion.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as of June 2019, 200,000 service members transition from military to civilian life annually. In the last several years, the federal government has taken many steps to support them — including the Joining Forces Initiative in 2011, which called for companies to hire and train 1.5 million military veterans and their spouses, and the the Forever GI Bill passed in 2017, which ensures that student veterans can take advantage of the educational benefits they’ve earned at any point throughout their lives.
However, the transition to civilian employment may not always be an easy or successful process.
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among veterans has more than doubled year over year to almost 7 percent this year. And according to Gallup’s 2019 annual survey on employee engagement, a majority of all employees including veterans have jobs in which they are not engaged.
The lack of job security and satisfaction is a profound concern. In an October 2020 piece for Military Times, Leo James reported that more than 6,000 veterans take their lives every year.
In light of the escalating stress and financial pressure associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, this Veteran’s Day we need to do more than simply thank our former service members. Leaders can make their veteran employees feel included and valued by leveraging these specific strategies.
You can read the entire article here.