For thousands of military veterans, life after active service involves joining other forms of employment, like government jobs or starting their own businesses and contributing to America's economic growth. About 23% of veterans are employed by the government, and the private sector is a major destination for veterans to find employment. According to the Census Bureau, six percent of all businesses were owned by veterans in 2021, generating almost $948 billion in revenue and creating nearly four million jobs.
There are still many challenges that veterans face when transitioning into civilian careers. Some of the key challenges that veterans may face when transitioning from active military service to civilian employment include a lack of resources for how to effectively present their experience and transferable skills when applying for civilian positions, insufficient support in their job search journey, and challenges finding inclusive employers who can adequately support veterans in the workplace.
Here's what employers can do to establish an inclusive workplace for veterans in their organizations.
Rephrasing job posts and adding soft skills
Veterans bring a diverse set of highly valuable skills to an organization. Military skills like leadership, resiliency, adaptability, problem-solving, accountability, and administrative knowledge are equally applicable in a corporate setup. These are soft skills that veterans grow during their demanding training regime in the armed forces. One of the best ways to make job postings more accessible for veterans is to include more soft skills and use relatable language that avoids unnecessary corporate jargon. This will help veterans identify their transferable skills and understand how their experience will translate into a civilian role.
Career development programs
Career development is a top priority for all employees, and it's the same for veterans. According to a 2022 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50% of the unemployed veteran population are in the 25-54 age bracket. It's a very important phase in a person's life for career planning and up-skilling. Building on qualities that veterans acquire during their service in the armed forces will build a workforce that has the most in-demand skills. Developing a dedicated career development program is one of the best practices to attract and retain veterans.
Reaching out to neurodiverse veterans
Many veterans often go through mental and physical trauma during their service. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is quite common among veterans. While some retire unharmed, others may be less fortunate. Veterans with PTSD or other neurodivergences often require more support when transitioning to the mainstream workforce and including them in the workforce is just as important as hiring neurotypical veterans. Top recruiters should actively help and advise neurodiverse applicants, as well as provide training on disability awareness for employers through outreach partners.
Flexible hours and paid time off
Flexibility is the most important thing that workers seek today. Flexible hours, a hybrid or remote schedule, and getting paid time off can be particularly attractive to veterans. Flexibility allows veterans to balance their civilian career and their family responsibilities as well as allow them the space to navigate their new work environment gradually. Reservists can also benefit from flexible and hybrid work to recoup after assignments.
Veterans often don't get options to choose healthcare providers or other medical benefits. The decision is made for them. They often may not get the best medical insurance policy or health benefit available to them. Transitioning to civilian life is also challenging for a veteran's family. As an employer, help them understand the benefits available for a veteran's family.
Recognize their frustrations
Veterans often feel misunderstood in the civilian workplace. They are used to fixed timelines, processes, and pre-defined duties. They may face challenges adapting to a corporate setting or seek more responsibilities to feel successful in their roles. Having a veteran peer group in the organization helps to address their concerns and vulnerabilities and make the necessary changes to foster the inclusion of veterans in the workplace.
Finding a pool of untapped talent to fill in job roles is a top priority for all recruiters. Hiring military veterans is a proven and successful strategy. Besides gaining high-performance workers, organizations can earn enormous goodwill from customers and stakeholders. Having an inclusive workplace driven by empathy will further boost the morale of the veterans, leading to more productivity.
If you are an employer looking to create an inclusive and supportive work environment for veterans, contact us through SourceVets to start the conversation about how you can make an impact on the veteran community today. Let’s accelerate meaningful employment for veterans!