There are currently over 18 million living veterans in the United States, constituting approximately 6% of the adult population. As of October 2023, the veteran unemployment rate stands at 2.9%, and annually, around 200,000 service members transition from military to civilian life.
This year has brought numerous challenges for employers and employees alike, with the need to navigate changes and establish new norms in the workplace – especially when it comes to veteran hiring. Successfully overcoming these challenges requires commitment, adaptability, and skills, qualities that are often found in military veterans.
What defines a good military veteran-friendly employer? Is it their employer brand, recruitment marketing strategy, benefits, or employee resources? The answer is a resounding "yes" to all of the above. Creating a top-notch experience for veterans involves a combination of these elements and more.
Leveraging the strengths of veterans is vital for any company, underscoring the importance of implementing initiatives that support their hiring and success in the workplace. If a company is interested in revamping its strategies, consider the benefits of hiring veteran talent and draw inspiration from ten companies who are doing exceptional work at creating an inclusive, military-friendly experience.
Employing veterans can be highly advantageous for companies, given the distinctive skills, experiences, and qualities they bring to the table.
To highlight this, here are ten key qualities that underscore the importance of considering veterans in the hiring process:
The significance of an organization's branding cannot be overstated when it comes to attracting talent who were formerly military personnel, paralleling its importance in appealing to customers. A cohesive messaging strategy should serve as the foundation for all communications. Every element, from the organization's logo, mission statement, website, and social media platforms to collateral materials, and even one-on-one interactions with company representatives, presents an opportunity to convey a consistent message of "You’re welcome here."
The organization's website, often the initial point of contact for potential applicants, plays a pivotal role. What it says (and does not say) communicates about whether individuals with a military background can expect a positive experience. In essence, every facet of an organization's communication channels should resonate with a welcoming, informative message to effectively attract and engage veteran talent.
Enhancing career sites with dedicated military landing pages is an excellent way to provide relevant information for veterans exploring sites. Moreover, for organizations gearing up for veteran-specific recruitment campaigns, linking to dedicated pages for veteran talent reinforces the commitment to maintaining veteran-friendly workplaces and hiring practices.
When jobs are posted in veteran-exclusive settings, consider tailoring content for greater appeal and relatability to target audiences. Use familiar and clear terms or language when outlining tasks, processes, and systems to boost veterans’ confidence in their ability to perform jobs, increasing the likelihood of them applying.
Incorporating brief summaries of companies' commitments to hiring veterans in job descriptions is also essential. Highlight programs and resources developed to serve veterans, describe efforts to enhance career opportunities, and mention veteran leaders in companies by name to establish a more personal connection with audiences.
Tip: Include current veteran employees in marketing efforts by encouraging them to be employee ambassadors. A great way to engage them is by creating recruitment videos where they speak about their experience being a veteran employed at the company, what resources are available, employee resource groups, or anything else the employer has to support veteran talent.
Ensure military landing pages showcase images and icons denoting military inclusiveness. Also, devote sections to content addressing military-connected job seekers, featuring information such as benefits programs and activities showing ongoing engagement pre-hire and post-hire.
US military veterans bring unique and diverse skill sets that position them as ideal candidates for businesses seeking to hire talent. However, a significant challenge in hiring veterans lies in translating their military skills for civilian roles.
April Shprintz, a veteran and founder of Driven Outcomes, notes, “Rarely is a company’s hiring team trained to translate a veteran’s skills and experiences to the role they’re hiring. Military vernacular is highly specialized, and it’s challenging to know if the person applying has the needed experience based on a resume full of terms that aren’t common in the business world.”
Resources like YourJobPath.com and Military.com can assist in decoding military skills. Some companies have also integrated military skills translators into their careers site pages and internal job search engines.
It's crucial to consider the various roles held by individuals in the US military and the associated skill sets. Skill translators serve as a bridge, enabling veteran candidates to articulate their skills in a way understandable to those unfamiliar with military terminology. This not only facilitates communication but also helps veterans identify the most suitable opportunities within an organization based on their qualifications.
To streamline this process, organize job descriptions and required skills in user-friendly grids, correlating Military Occupational Codes (MOCs) with organizational skills, allowing job seekers to identify the best-fit opportunities quickly.
These employers are making great strides to reduce veteran unemployment rates and are succeeding in hiring phenomenal military employees. Explore the unique initiatives each company has undertaken to demonstrate their dedication to inclusive hiring for veterans:
The Home Depot utilizes employee testimonials, which is a great way of highlighting employee ambassadors and letting their authentic experiences connect with top talent. They also share three free courses on how to transition themselves to a civilian career. These resources are a great way to create a positive candidate experience and ensure veteran talent feel supported during their entire hiring process.
Kaiser Permanente has a Military Officer Transition Program that highlights the company’s commitment to helping successfully transition veteran talent to their post-military careers. They also have a skills translator on their site to ensure top talent can find the roles that match their expertise, ensuring a good fit and that the company hires quality candidates.
Boeing employs over 18,000 veterans, making up almost 15% of their US workforce. They also highlight their commitment to supporting veteran causes, sharing that the team has “awarded more than $13 million to 116 charitable organizations supporting veterans.” By highlighting their commitment to veterans, talent is more likely to feel welcome and supported by the company.
Amazon has virtual hiring events for veterans, allowing vets to connect with their military recruiting teams. The company also provides internship and apprenticeship opportunities for veterans, and even has a Military SkillBridge program for military members within 180 days of service separation. This allows the talent to smoothly transition to civilian life while fostering a positive employee experience. In turn, these can help build an employer brand of being a military-friendly company.
Veterans make up one in every five employees at Lockheed Martin Corporation. They have special military hiring events, tailored exclusively for the military community – and if the talent is not ready to apply, the company gives an opportunity for talent to join their talent community right on the landing page. This ensures that all talent has the ability to gain the content they’re looking for, when and where they’re ready to receive it.
Verizon has videos from real employees about what the employee experience and culture is like as a veteran, allowing candidates transparency and visibility on what it’s like to work there. These videos allow talent to connect with a like-minded individual at the company, building a sense of community and camaraderie – even before the veteran applies.
USAA highlights many benefits for veterans, one being the Veteran Transition Leadership Development. This initiative offers a one-year program designed to assist veterans in transitioning into a professional corporate career and facilitates connections with senior leaders and company experts, providing mentorship opportunities. Additionally, USAA has an employee resource group called VETNET, crafted explicitly for veterans and military spouses. It plays a pivotal role in nurturing appreciation, understanding, and respect for military culture and its members. These benefits on the landing page highlight the EVP and what makes the company different from its competitors.
BAE Systems shares their military recruitment team members' photos, names, contact information, titles, and military branches. This kind of visibility encourages candidates to build connections with the company and fosters a positive candidate experience by facilitating an easy way to engage with the hiring team.
Wells Fargo shares a Resume Engine resource so veteran talent can create resumes that will get them noticed by the company. The team also hosts webcasts so candidates can learn about career opportunities and tips on how they can be successful applicants. This guidance provides a great candidate experience and showcases Wells Fargo’s commitment to veterans – even before being hired.
CVS Health allows candidates to search by job title, category, or Military MOS code, which helps them translate their skills to open opportunities at the company. The company has a fellowship program designed for military spouses to acquire the necessary experience for starting a new career with CVS Health, and additional resources (such as the Military Spouse Ambassador Network) to help the transition. Benefits like these showcase how CVS is different from its competitors and fosters a more compelling EVP.
While implementing a veteran recruitment strategy is a positive initial step, its impact goes beyond the intent. To truly prioritize veteran hiring, draw inspiration from the companies above to initiate internal changes. Hiring professionals can begin by surveying current employees to understand their perceptions of the company’s DEIB strategies and the depth of the commitment to veteran-inclusive hiring.
Identifying both strengths and areas for improvement is crucial to moving the dial more effectively in creating an inclusive environment for veterans. Once hiring professionals assess the company's position, they can leverage their platform to communicate stories about the company culture and employer brand authentically. This narrative should permeate through the career site, job descriptions, social media presence, etc.
Effectively showcasing the company’s values and commitment to being veteran-friendly will bolster its reputation among diverse top talents, increasing their interest in pursuing a career with the company.
If you’d like to discuss refining your recruitment strategies to become veteran-inclusive, reach out to the team at Recruitics! Our industry experts are skilled in creating innovative strategies to target and convert diverse top talent. Utilizing real-time data, they pivot, innovate, and collaborate to target candidates where they are with precisely the content they want.