Setting up for success: Tips for organizations hiring veterans
Partner with organizations that specialize in veteran transition training and job placement
External organizations such as Breakline, Hiring our Heroes, and FourBlock can help smooth the transition for veterans before they join your organization. These companies have strong track records of training veterans and helping them land jobs at highly competitive organizations. Letting external organizations assist with the vetting and training process can be a force multiplier for your organization.
Provide all new veteran hires with a more senior veteran “onboarding buddy”
Veterans have a shared set of experiences, language, and cultural touchstones — they can benefit enormously from having a fellow veteran translate between what they are familiar with and the ins and outs of the new organization. A veteran onboarding buddy can smooth the transition into the new environment, culture, and expectations. Make this type of matching a priority in your onboarding process and support those existing employees who act as buddies. Most of your newly hired veterans will be grateful for the opportunity and will take advantage of it.
Create space for veterans to feel like they are a valued part of the “tribe”
In his book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, author Sebastian Junger chronicles historical approaches to helping veterans reacclimate to society. One way to do this at your organization is to give veterans a platform to share their experiences with others. I’d only been at BetterUp for 3 months when our CEO Alexi gave me the opportunity to stand in front of our 200-plus employee company and talk about some of my time in Afghanistan. It was a remarkable gesture of inclusion and proved to be enormously cathartic for me. This year, with our CEO as Executive Sponsor, we also stood up a Military Veteran Employee Resource Group (ERG) that serves to bring our veterans (and veteran family members) together and build awareness and support across the company.
Creating these public spaces for veterans is a twofer: veterans get the psychological benefit of sharing their stories and being seen while the organization gains insight into the veteran experience. This can help leaders, managers, and peers better understand and make use of the unique skills, knowledge, and perspectives that veterans bring to the table.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, why not give a veteran a chance at your organization? Provide conditions for their success and you’ll be amazed what they can do — for your culture and your performance — even if, like for me, it takes a little longer for the picture to come into focus.
Published November 8, 2022