2015 was a great year for hiring Veterans, and dozens of articles highlighted this achievement and the resulting reduction in Veteran unemployment. While this is great news for our Veterans, new information from multiple federal agencies shows that retention rates for former military employees is lower than that of non-Veterans. Hiring Veterans makes good business sense, but retaining them is crucial to achieving long term success. Here are 6 ways to increase Veteran retention in your workplace:
1. Identify military skills and traits that align to open positions. Matching the right Veteran to the right opportunity before the individual is interviewed, and hired significantly increases Veteran retention. These Veterans can begin work with little ramp up time, and can immediately put the training, skills, and expertise obtained in the military to work for your organization.
2. Discuss company culture and promotion structures during candidate interviews. Veterans are accustomed to working in a structured environment, with clear reporting lines, and a defined promotion structure. Discussing how your organization operates (work schedules, company attire, promotion methods, performance reviews, open door policies, etc.) at the onset can set expectations, reduce uncertainty, and answer questions the candidate might not ask during the interview.
3. Incorporate regular, routine feedback into business activities. Performance evaluations within the military can occur as frequently as once a month. Encouraging management to formally and informally communicate feedback to employees can strengthen the relationship and output of your staff.
4. Leverage Veteran skills in the workplace. Veterans are accustomed to mentoring others and using multiple technical and non-technical skills in performance of their duties. Encourage Veterans to serve as mentors to others in the organization, and learn what skills and expertise they have in addition to those required for their position.
5. Be transparent about training opportunities. In addition to skills and training for the position being performed by the individual, communicate required and desired skills, as well as any training necessary for promotion and advancement opportunities.
6. Include Veterans in company recognition events. Recognize your Veteran employees for their service around military holidays and events. Preparing care packages, volunteering for Veteran events, and supporting families with active duty military members are also simple, effective ways to include the entire organization in supporting your military workforce.