With added media attention on veterans, it’s important to see beyond the hype and look objectively at the talent pool that veterans offer to the workforce.
According to Peter A. Gudmundsson, CEO and president of Loveland, Ohio-based RecruitMilitary, getting past the personal biases and preconceived notions about veterans and what they offer as an employee is important.
Time in the military teaches discipline, resiliency, teamwork and helps develop character. Military veterans are also highly skilled workers. However, Gudmundsson, who served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985 – 1988, says that the biases in the workforce are real.
“No one wants to admit bias but everybody has biases—positive, negative, race, gender, foreign accents, regional accents. We all have biases; it’s how the human brain works,” he said in a recent interview. “What do you think when you hear ‘veteran’? What does your team think? Your organization? If you don’t address your bias, you’re not going to get the benefit of veteran hiring.”
Some of those biases include the idea that veterans are a victim group that deserves special consideration. Gudmundsson says pointedly that they are not “owed” anything and that the truth of the matter is that veterans are highly trained and have skills and values such as teamwork, resiliency, and discipline that hiring managers find to be of great value.
Other biases against veterans might include the fact that they may be a security risk and be unstable due to PTSD. Gudmundsson dispels that idea by saying that most veterans did not serve in combat. Anyone can experience PTSD, and he counters that others who never served in the military have suffered from abuse or been in accidents that can cause them to struggle with PTSD. Employers don’t shy away from those individuals as they do from veterans.
There is also the misconception that veterans have a high rate of unemployment. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, veteran unemployment is at 4.1 percent whereas the overall unemployment rate is slightly higher at 4.7 percent as of February of 2016.
Making the transition from military to civilian life is not nearly as complicated as some employers may think and often those skills translate well into the corporate sector after military service.
Gudmundsson recommends that for HR departments to look at veterans as a demographic like any other and consider what the company’s needs are and how a veteran might fit the bill. Veterans look for and respond well to mentorship. It’s part of their training and who they are. Management should have a clear idea about what the organization is about and their goals and mission. That kind of leadership works well when hiring veterans for the job.
Veterans want what every other worker wants and that is gainful employment and being able to use their skills for their company as well as provide for themselves and their families. At NetPEO, we understand human resource needs. That’s why so many companies choose us to help them with a host of areas that include payroll, management of employee benefits and liability management as well as employee leasing.
Contact us today to discuss your company’s current needs and how we can help. That leaves you to focus on the important task of running your business. Call to schedule a free assessment today. Let NetPEO help you with all of your employee needs.