Improving Veteran Employee Retention

Nine ways to ensure Veteran Employees stay with your Company

Did you know that Veteran employee retention can be an issue for many private companies? In one study, nearly half of Veterans surveyed left their first post military-separation job after less than a year of employment. The two most common reasons cited were being unhappy and unfulfilled with their jobs. Taking a moment to tailor your employee retention efforts to better address the needs of Veterans is a great way to reduce turnover and improve Veteran retention in your company. Here are nine of the most effective ways to keep your Veteran employees engaged and happy.

  1. Mentoring

Mentoring has been lauded as one of the most often used ways to improve retention regardless of your firm’s type of business. Instituting a formal mentorship program, or simply identifying a Veteran point of contact familiar with the complexities of Veteran issues to help mentor new employees can positively impact the experience for both new and existing hires.

  1. Skill Training

Veterans, as a group, generally do well with learning new skills. In their experience in the military, learning new skills is paramount to the mission. Applying skill training for Veteran employees will help them fit into their new positions seamlessly. It will give them the tools to improve on the job and increase productivity. Skill training can help with Veteran retention and help them grow within the company.

  1. Formal and Informal Evaluations

In the military, service members receive periodic performance evaluations. These evaluations may come in written form (formal) or take the form of a verbal sit-down meeting with a superior officer (informal). These evaluations can be very helpful for morale. They are used to set goals, making sure the employee is on track with their individual career development plan, and shows how their work stacks up against others in the same job code. This type of positive reinforcement and constructive criticism is beneficial to the employee and employer, and  should be clearly communicated to the employee so they know when and how evaluations will be conducted.

  1. Wellness Programs

The military places a large emphasis in physical well being for service members, and Veterans are accustomed to having a variety of wellness programs available to them. Discounted gym memberships, nutrition counseling, lifestyle coaching, and smoking cessation classes are a few popular wellness programs that Veteran employees often participate in. These types of wellness programs can help with retention by improving morale.

  1. Alternative Work Schedules

Alternative Work Schedules or telecommuting are often very appealing to Veterans. Prior service members are very familiar with varying work schedules and typically thrive under these conditions. Additionally, Veteran employees may require flexible work hours to help accommodate appointments related to their prior military service, or to support Reserve or National Guard activities.  Telecommuting allows employees to work from an alternative location, typically resulting in decreased commute times, fewer workplace interruptions, and reduced job turnover, all of which serve to increase job productivity and satisfaction. Offering flexible work schedules is a simple way to keep an employee happy with their current position.

  1. Child Care Assistance

Childcare is one of the most stressful factors for working parents, including Veterans. Veterans are accustomed to receiving childcare and other forms of family support from the military, and can benefit from assistance with finding new sources for those services after transitioning to the private sector. 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 resource and referral service for programs that offer after school  and/or extended hour care programs. For most employees with children, Child Care Assistance can be a significant factor in determining whether to remain with your firm or seek other opportunities elsewhere.

  1. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Recently, EAPs have become more common in the workplace and are helpful in the retention of all employees, but can be especially valuable for Veteran employees. EAPs provide confidential counseling to help employees deal with acute issues that affect job productivity. For some Veterans, counseling for managing physical or psychological trauma may be useful. Veterans could also benefit from counseling focusing on the stress of transitioning from the military to the private sector, or returning from a long deployment. All of these EAP services go a long way towards ensuring that your Veteran employees are happy and productive.

  1. Affinity Groups

Affinity groups or networks are gaining popularity in 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 learn how to utilize the distinct skill set imparted by their prior military service when working with their non-Veteran counterparts. This type of inclusion and group support has proven to be very beneficial in the retention of Veteran team members.

  1. Veteran Affairs (VA) Liaison

Many companies find it helpful to designate a Veteran Affairs Liaison, someone who is versed in the intricacies of Veteran issues and benefits, to assist employees with questions or concerns that arise after their transition out of the military. These Liaisons can help Veteran employees navigate any issues or concerns that may affect their job satisfaction, and often work with internal Human Resources staff and local Veteran Affairs offices to share information and details of programmatic changes that can impact employees. Having someone to answer critical questions pertaining to their service can go a long way in retaining your Veteran employee.

Having happy employees is crucial to workplace productivity. In this aspect, Veterans are no different than your non-Veteran employees. When your Veteran employees are happy, your Veteran retention will improve.  If you have a Veteran retention success story, we would like to hear it.  Reach out today and let us share your great program ideas.