Approximately 550 veterans leave the military per day according to a 2014 study produced by the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Every day, multiple businesses miss out on the opportunity to hire an Active Duty military veteran as they their uniform for business attire. Fortunately, you can still tap this great talent pipeline to find future leaders for your company. While this is far from an exhaustive list, this article will explain the top five reasons for hiring a veteran. Many of these points apply to the entire military population: Guard, Reserve and Active Duty.
1. Leadership DNA. The average age of junior Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) in the United States Army is between 20 and 22. Soldiers often face the burden of leadership and rank within the first 18 months of military service. On the other hand, newly commissioned officers often find themselves responsible for the lives and well being of up to 40 other Soldiers or Marines at just 22 or 23 years of age. The mantle of leadership is placed on the shoulders of military personnel early; they quickly learn the skills necessary to lead teams towards success.
2. Success orientation. No other culture in corporate America can match the organizational focus of the military. Every Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airman from Day One of basic training receives indoctrination centered on DUTY and PURPOSE — a laser-like bearing on getting the job done no matter what is at stake. I always like to reference the quote from Gene Kranz in Apollo 13: “Failure is not an option.” Our modern military culture instills a sense of urgency and discipline in veterans which provides clear priorities, focus, and a competitive edge in all environments.
3. They know how to successfully manage stress. Service members constantly experience training and deployments in austere and high stress environments, often operating on poor (or limited) food and little sleep. Meeting strict deadlines often translates to lives saved and property losses minimized. Translating this experience to the private sector means that veterans can handle high levels of stress. Veterans are adept at navigating tough deadlines and tougher bosses and are unafraid to face challenges day in and day out.
4. They expect to pay their dues and work hard daily. There are no weekends or holidays when deployed or when conducting field training. Service members are expected to give 100% effort every day and understand the meaning of hard work. Employers can expect to receive their money’s worth out of veteran employees.
5. Capability and autonomy. Veterans are often expected to accomplish objectives with little guidance, often receiving only a task and end state. This culture breeds independence and resourcefulness in service members because it provides them the flexibility and opportunity to accomplish tasks on schedule as they see fit. Translating this culture to the private sector means that veterans can be relied upon to get the job done with little guidance or pushing. Given the proper training and guidance, veterans can amaze employers with their ability to accomplish tasks without having to be prodded.
It is no secret that veterans can make a significant impact within your organization. Many Fortune 500 companies have been tapping into the veteran pool for years, finding highly qualified candidates to meet their needs. Veterans make up over 20% of new hires at companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Union Pacific, to name a few, according to Monster.com. Tech giants Microsoft and Amazon also recognize the importance of veteran hiring and have developed their own leadership pipelines and training courses specifically tailored to transitioning service members.
We love veterans; in fact, we plan to hire another one next week through the US Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Program. Let us know if we can ever answer any questions on this topic! ARMY STRONG!
– Martin Plumlee is the Owner and Senior Executive Recruiter for Plumlee & Associates (www.plumleeassociates.com), based in Franklin, Tennessee. For over 18 years, he has been a successful Sales Executive, Talent Strategist and Leadership Consultant. Outside of business, he loves his life and duties as a husband, father and Citizen-Soldier; Martin currently serves in the Army Reserves in Des Moines, IA. He has humbly served on both Active Duty and in the Reserves for over 15 years. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point (1994) and earned an MBA in International Business from Tennessee Technological University (2006). Please connect with him on LinkedIn and follow the firm on Twitter (@PlumleeAssoc) and Facebook (PlumleeAssociatesNashville).
– Grant Miller is a Recruiting Analyst and Corporate Fellow through the US Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes Program. He is a 2013 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the US Army. Originally from Austin Texas, he is currently transitioning to the private sector following five years of active duty service; he plans to continue his education in the Fall of 2018 to pursue an MBA.