9 ways to make your company more desirable to Veterans
Creating an environment that is friendly to Veteran employees can help improve your recruitment efforts and make your company more desirable to prospective employees. Here are 9 things to keep in mind when creating a Veteran-friendly working environment.
- Maintain a Value System
Many Veterans look for employment in companies that uphold the core values they learned and lived by in the military. As such, having a strong value system in place will appeal to many Veterans applicants. Communicating your values can be as simple as ensuring your have positive values in your company’s mission statement or a more complex approach. Either way, it emphasizes that your business values doing the right thing. It means the moral compass is set for you and your employees.
- Make Patriotic Holidays Matter
Observing patriotic holidays holds special importance to Veterans. Understanding the meaning of these holidays and the differences between them allows for more meaningful ways of marking the holiday for your employees. Companies who do more than a ‘token’ observance tend to be more respected by Veteran employees, as they feel more valued by their employers.
Mentoring has been lauded as one of the most effective ways to improve retention in many fields. Identifying current Veteran employees, or having a Veteran point of contact that is familiar with the complexities of Veteran issues to help mentor new Veteran employees can positively impact the experience for both new and existing hires.
- Wellness Programs
The military places great emphasis on physical well being for service members, and thus Veterans are accustomed to having a variety of wellness programs available to them. Discounted gym memberships, nutritional counseling, lifestyle coaching, or smoking cessation classes are all popular examples of wellness programs that can make your firm more attractive to Veterans.
- Alternative Work Schedules
Alternative Work Schedules, or telecommuting, often appeal to Veteran employees. Prior service members tend to be familiar with varying work schedules and may seek similar opportunities when transitioning to the private sector. At times, there may also be a need for flexible work hours to accommodate appointments related to their prior military service, or to participate in Reserve or National Guard activities. Telecommuting allows employees to work from an alternative location, often resulting in decreased commuting times, fewer workplace interruptions, and increased job productivity. Being willing to work with flexible schedules goes a long way in keeping an employee happy with their current job.
- Child Care Assistance
Child Care Assistance is almost always seen as a positive consideration for applicants with families. Childcare is one of the most stressful factors for working parents, including Veterans. Veterans are accustomed to the military looking after their families. Child Care Assistance can come in many forms, including on-site child care, discounted tuition for Child Care Centers and Summer Camps, or providing a child care resource and referral service offering after-school care or extended hour care programs. Regardless of the type, many Veterans will use these programs if available.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
EAPs have recently become more common in the workplace and are another option that can help in the retention of Veteran employees. EAPs provide confidential counseling to employees dealing with acute issues that affect job productivity and/or overall quality of life. For some Veterans, counseling for managing physical or psychological trauma may be useful. Veterans could also benefit from counseling focused on the stress of transitioning from the military to the private sector or returning from a long deployment.
- Affinity Groups
Affinity groups or networks are gaining popularity in many sectors of today’s work force. Affinity groups supporting Veterans in the workplace provide a sense of inclusion and support diversity by identifying and finding solutions to unique Veteran issues within the organization. Resource Groups can also help Veterans and co-workers work together by utilizing the distinct set of skills that pertains to employees with prior military service. This type of inclusion and sense of community is very beneficial in the retention of Veteran team members.
- Veteran Affairs (VA) Liaison
Many companies find it helpful to have a Veteran Affairs Liaison available on site. Usually, this person is someone well-versed in the intricacies of Veteran issues and benefits, and can help employees navigate any questions or concerns that arise after their transition out of the military. They often work with internal Human Resources staff, as well as local Veteran Affairs offices to share information and details of programmatic changes that can impact employees. Having someone to ask critical questions pertaining to their service often goes a long way in retaining your Veteran employees.
The more attractive your company is to Veterans, the better retention and overall feeling of job satisfaction will be for your firm’s Veteran employees. Making these small changes can have a big impact on your recruiting efforts.