Veteran hiring initiatives across a broad spectrum of industries have helped to cut the unemployment rate among younger veterans from double digits a few years ago to close to the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the pendulum seems to be swinging in the other direction. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, employers are challenged in retaining those very military veterans recruited into their companies. The article cited a 2016 US Chamber of Commerce Foundation survey that found 44% of US veterans left their first post-military jobs within a year. Left unchecked, this trend could undo or severely cripple the veteran hiring progress this country has made to date.
About 40% of the 3,000 overhead staff and contractors Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) claim veteran, military spouse or military dependent status, and through our targeted approach enjoy a military veteran employee retention rate that is several times the national average of those in their first post-military job. Here’s how.
Veterans hire veterans. At the core of our strategy is a veterans-hiring-veterans approach. Our Combat Recruit Support Team has created an intentional pipeline for recruiting, retaining and placing military veterans with transferrable skill sets who are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the customers we serve. Because each team member has made the transition from military to civilian careers, the team is perfectly suited to serve and assist new military.
Ongoing support. S3 has also launched a website for veterans, spouses and dependents, offering support such as advice on translating military experience into desired civilian job skills; a database of current job opportunities in S3; and help writing a resume. S3 also consistently supports events that support veterans. Additionally, S3 participates in veteran benefits information/jobs fairs across the country.
Recognition. The company takes every opportunity to create special messages to celebrate, honor and remember important days to the military community, including service branch “birthdays,” Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Veterans are consistently highlighted in the company newsletter and at company gatherings. Other examples include a book, Together We Stand: Strategic Staffing Solutions and America’s Veterans; the development of a distinctive employee pin for veterans; designating Veterans Day as a paid holiday for all employees ; and a video highlighting the company’s veteran program and some of the individual military veteran employees who have contributed to S3’s success.
Leverage expertise. As part of its ongoing efforts, S3 continues within the staffing industry to create opportunities for military veterans. Best practices and industry intelligence are shared in national forums such as the SIA Executive Forum. A fast-tracked Military Veteran JAVA class has been created in Plano, Texas. In addition, the company’s human resource capabilities are tweaked to better track core demographics, ease the transition of military veterans into civilian work, and increase long-term retention within job placements.
The good news is that veterans want to be part of your organization. In a Pew survey of post-9/11 military veterans, more than half specifically cited the opportunity to learn skills they could use in the civilian workforce as an important factor in their decision to serve. As employers, we have a great opportunity not only to help veterans achieve their goal of a successful transition to the civilian workforce, but to achieve our own goals in the process: hiring the best employees possible to ensure the success of our own organizations.
Look for more on this topic in an online exclusive story for Staffing Industry Review magazine.