Hire Veterans: Your Business Will be better for it

Hire Veterans: Your Business Will be better for it
Soldier interacting with children

There are several large deployments scheduled for members of the Iowa National Guard throughout 2020 and 2021, that are affecting many organizations and soldiers in the Corridor. Because of the tremendous value that veterans add to an organization, their temporary absence will be noticed. Veterans and active military members can be some of the most creative, diligent, natural leaders in the workforce. They already possess many skills that would cost your business thousands of dollars to train. 

Here are just a few of the top reasons to hire a veteran or active military member: 

Demonstrated leadership experience. Like many of my crew members, I joined the Navy when I was just 18 years old. After going through extensive physical and mental training for almost two years, I was first assigned to the USS Mississippi (CGN 40), where we spent near 18 months out of the next 24 months at sea supporting the Navy’s mission. Opportunities for leadership were all around us. We were tasked with managing and maintaining expensive, high-tech equipment, carrying out detailed training missions, and navigating through everyday situations in a high-stress, fast-paced environment…. All before we turned 22 years old! That’s years of real life, tangible, leadership experience being brought to the table at a young age. I continued to be in the military and work through leadership positions for 20 plus years – providing me with extensive, unmatched leadership experience in a fast-paced environment. Of course leadership skills continue to be developed throughout one’s career, but a military background gives a leg up to many candidates. 

Teamwork makes the dream work. While basic training may not be quite what you see in the movies, it really can be brutal. Sleeping, eating, working and training side by side with the same group of people can be draining – think quarantine life, but add strenuous workouts in the blazing heat, large high-tech equipment, and extensive training exercises. It is in this environment that some of the strongest bonds are formed, and some key skills are developed. Service members learn how to have direct conversations, move beyond personal riffs to achieve a common goal, and communicate in the most clear and efficient way possible. Imagine if more people in your organization possessed those key skills. Would your work day be a little easier? 

Diversity and inclusion in action. Remember above when we likened being on a base or in a submarine to quarantining with your family for a long period of time? Now imagine that instead of being cooped up with your family, it’s a group of people from all over the country with different backgrounds, religious views, political views, sexual orientation, race and socioeconomic status. It’s easy to see how problems could arise but often it’s quite the opposite. Research shows that having different points of view at the table helps groups make better, more well-rounded decisions (and businesses profit as a result!). Many employees aren’t exposed to this level of diversity until long into their careers, if ever. Veterans are not only thrust into diversity at a young age, but are required to navigate those differences to move towards a common goal. As a young man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I had little awareness of the infinite perspectives and experiences of others. To that point, I had largely only interacted with others that think, look, and behave the way I do. At just 18 years old, I was forced to put in the effort to understand the different lived experiences of my fellow crew members. We had to decide – how can we overcome our different backgrounds and instead focus on our unique strengths to move the whole mission forward? Many organizations and professionals are currently working to answer these questions. My military background gave me a jumpstart to what would become my life’s work. 

Discipline and follow through. In the military, the mission always comes first. Military personnel are conditioned to put in the effort and keep going until the task is complete. It’s easy to see how that skill set would benefit an organization. This feels especially relevant to me when I’m faced with a large, daunting task. My military background has given me the foundation to break it up into simple one-step tasks, and keep going until complete. When a company hires members of the military, they can expect that same drive and follow through in the day to day tasks.  

Ability to follow rules and maintain schedules. There are some positions where creative thinking and challenging the status quo is especially valuable. In other positions, rigid attention to detail and consistency is the key to success. Members of the military are familiar with being held to high standards in tight timelines. I can vividly remember the first time a member of senior leadership gave me an order during an actual (non-drill) general quarters (battle situation), I learned quickly that these rules were nonnegotiable and that in order to succeed, I needed to pay close attention to my actions and how they affect the overall goal. There are particular roles, such as a data analyst or specialized technician (nuclear power in my case), where that attention to detail is absolutely vital. 

I can see these learned skills and more playing out in my own post-Navy career. The military is a very diverse organization, now more so than ever before. These individuals are used to working in a close knit team where cohesiveness and understanding your fellow sailor/soldier/etc. is a must, no matter their background, income level, gender, sexual orientation, color of their skin, or any other characteristic that is different from you. This makes veterans wonderful additions to a business that values equity, diversity, inclusion, and engagement and it is one of the reasons I started my own business – to promote the skills that veterans and other diverse groups have to offer. Top RANK is here to help in your search to hire veterans and promote EDI&E in your business.  

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