Why Companies Should Hire Veterans

Regardless of what else is happening with the job market, many employers have found that veterans have advantageous skillsets that make them an asset to civilian companies. Let’s explore more reasons why civilian companies should focus on hiring veterans.

Did you know the veteran unemployment rate is a full percent lower than the national average (2.7% versus 3.9% in October 2023), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? That demonstrates that many employers have recognized the value-add hiring veterans brings. Even though veterans face unemployment at lower rates than the rest of the population, some veterans still face issues transitioning to the civilian workforce. Looking at unemployment rates alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Many are underemployed.

According to Oxford, underemployment means not having enough paid work or not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities. And it’s a widespread and critical societal issue, especially for veterans.

Each year, an estimated 200,000 active-duty service members transition to civilian life. Recent data from the Veterans Metrics Initiative shows that more than half (61%) of veterans were underemployed three years post-transition, with veterans of color less likely to be employed than their white counterparts.

Tellingly, employment support is one of the most requested services from veterans and service members transitioning back to civilian life. Chronic underemployment leaves many people, including veterans, in need of other support. It’s mutually beneficial for civilian companies to invest in veterans through hiring them. Civilian companies get highly skilled employees, while veterans get meaningful and engaging employment.

Why You Should Hire Veterans

Research has shown military service can help people with skills and training for civilian work. According to other research from the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families, veterans typically possess characteristics and attitudes that enhance performance and thus organizational advantages in business environments. This research makes a compelling case for hiring veterans based on skills, competencies, and characteristics.

Some of these attributes, as the report from the institute points out, include:

  • Diversity: Nearly half (41%) of the military identifies as a member of a minority group.
  • Mission-driven focus: Veterans come from a workplace culture where the mission and its objectives are of primary importance. They are organizationally minded and adept at navigating institutional hierarchies
  • Trainable: Veterans had to receive specialized training to do their work in the military. This trainability and willingness to learn is a highly valued transferable skill.
  • Leadership training: The military provides varying degrees of leadership training to a majority of its members. They learn how to manage others, delegate tasks, take accountability, and motivate others.
  • Decisive: Veterans have often had to be quick on their feet with decision-making.
  • Analytical: Although many veterans may have had to make snap judgements in their military careers, they have been trained to be highly analytical without falling into “analysis paralysis” some people fall prey to.
  • Technologically savvy: As the world has grown more technologically advanced, so has the military. Most veterans have training with complex technology systems.
  • Self-starters: With proper support, many veterans are self-starters able to complete tasks independently.
  • Collaborative: Although they are more than capable of handling tasks on their own, most have considerable experience working as part of a cross-functional team.
  • Ability to manage stress: Many veterans have been in high-stakes situations during their military career and have received specialized training to develop appropriate coping skills.
  • Resilience: Being adaptable and able to manage stress well helps veterans have a higher degree of “bounce back,” known to psychologists as resilience.
  • Trustworthy: The aforementioned report from Syracuse University pointed out that “the military service experience engenders a strong propensity toward an inherent trust and faith in co-workers, and also a strong propensity toward trust in organizational leadership.”

Is There a Financial Benefit for Companies Hiring Veterans?

For many companies, the answer might be yes. Hiring veterans can positively impact your cost-savings, revenue, attrition rates, diversity, company culture, leadership capabilities, and company performance. Here’s how.

One comprehensive report found that “For a company of 1,000 employees and average revenue per employee of $150,000, decreasing turnover by 3% saves $1.3 million annually and increasing performance by 4% improves revenue by $6 million.”

That same report found indicates that veterans are less likely to generate turnover, which can improve company performance and overall revenue. It also revealed many employers (38%) felt they either could not attract enough high-quality veterans or found it too hard to translate military experience to civilian careers. But that does not have to be the case – Insight Global can help you find the most qualified candidates for your company.

Federal Benefits Can Help, Too

Some companies may be eligible to receive benefits from federal programs that encourage hiring veterans.

The Special Employer Incentives (SEI) program may provide compensation to companies who hire and train veterans. There are also tax benefits available for companies that hire veterans, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). If you think your company may be eligible for these kinds of incentives, do your research to be sure you fully understand your options.

Programs like SkillBridge and the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship program can help business recruit and train veterans, too.

Exploring, Utilizing, and Maximizing Potential

Talent acquisition, deployment, and development of veterans should be grounded in research- and information-based strategies focused on hiring and retention. Some proactive strategies for hiring and managing veterans include:

  • Understanding the motivation for veteran hiring initiatives (specific knowledge/skills acquisition versus stakeholder/value alignment)
  • Assessing business and market needs and competencies
  • Focusing on unique ways to leverage talent and transferable skills/competencies
  • Reinforcing meaning and purpose, and how it contributes towards performance objectives
  • Providing frequent performance feedback
  • Helping your team know what’s next, including further development or expansion opportunities
  • Setting challenging goals collaboratively
  • Knowing the difference between potential and readiness

All employees can benefit from those kinds of strategies. Exploring these motivations and suggestions for person-centered, mission-driven company culture can help your organization successfully attract and retain top talent.

You can also check out Insight Global’s veteran hiring initiatives.

We Can Help You Add Value to Your Staff

We are committed to helping our clients grow—not just in headcount, but as industry leaders with thriving company cultures that put people first.

Interested in learning more? Let’s chat about how we can help your company scale and grow with top-tier talent—and a culture that supports, retains, and helps you to maximize the talent of your people to their fullest potential.

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