Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak with Employers about their current situations when it comes to veterans and what their biggest concerns are when it comes to hiring a veteran. Here are a few of the questions that I have heard.
1. Are veterans safe to hire when they are just returning from Active Duty or Combat?
a. Yes, many veterans that are returning to the workforce weren’t in combat. The veterans that were in the fighting are no different than anyone else. Any veteran like any person, that has been through a traumatic event might be dealing with PTSD. Anyone that you hire can also be going through some psychological problem. The difference with a veteran is that they have access to help if they can get into their local Veteran Affairs.
2. Why do veterans leave after only working for my company after 6-8 months?
a. When a person is discharged from the Military, they are leaving huge responsibilities behind. While in the Military a Service Member oversees their fire team, squad, platoon, section or whatever it is they are doing while in the Military. When you manage other people in the Military, it means that you are also responsible for their lives. It is a responsibility that cannot be matched. A 22-year-old that is honorably discharged, more than likely had more responsibility than anyone at their current age. When a veteran is hired in the civilian world, it is usually for a job that does not recognize what they have done or can do. It is a significant pay cut from what they were being paid while serving our Nation which can contribute to our companies’ retention rate. After a few months of working at a place of employment where they are not being utilized or given more responsibility and direction to make a difference, they become restless. They joined the Military to become better, and to make a difference in the world. That mindset doesn’t change when a Service Member becomes a veteran. An employer must also recognize the unique requirements that are needed for a veteran to obtain proper health care and the benefits they deserve from Veteran Affairs. It means that the veteran will have appointments that are inconvenient. As inconvenient as it is to have an employee off and not turning your company a profit, they are also not making money (if their time off isn’t paid) and they are also stressing out about missing work and possibly being looked down on or eventually fired. No veteran wants to become a failure. When they are missing work, they are feeling a sense of letting their Employer down. All of this can add to the stress and decision to leave a place of employment. They may eventually feel as if they are not good enough to work for you, or a person may become depressed due to having to miss work to see a Doctor for a health problem that they cannot control. For younger veterans and even the 20-year veteran having health challenges and disabilities can become overwhelming. Before they served our Nation, they were physically fit and able to join the world’s greatest Military.
b. If you are interviewing a veteran or debating on hiring one, know that if you treat them with dignity, respect and allow them to do what they must for their health and benefits. You will have an employee that will become not only motivated to work harder for you, but they will be made more passionate about your company. Don’t forget that veterans at one point in their lives were willing to give up their lives for our Nation. Imagine how they will feel about a company that is treating them fairly and supporting them through what can be an extremely tough time.
If there is only one thing that you can take away or learn from this article it is this. Veterans are not broken but have been through extremely hard times. What you put into a veteran that you hire and support through a tough time. You will help forge an employee that will exceed your expectations and will forever remember you as the person or company that allowed and helped them to succeed.
** If you have any questions about this article or how to best hire, employ and retain veterans at your workplace feel free to contact me.