The job market is more competitive than ever. Between the Great Resignation and the pandemic, companies are scrambling to secure top talent in order to drive the business forward. , they’re starting with prioritizing inclusion and diversity.
According to Deloitte, cognitive diversity enhances team innovation by 20%. Additionally, it’s a great way to attract standout talent. Glassdoor reported that 67% of job seekers consider diversity and inclusion when accepting job offers.
There is a ready group of diverse and capable candidates that could benefit teams who are willing to think outside the box. SHRM reports that as many as 360,000 men and women leave military service each year. That’s 360,000 capable problem solvers who are highly adaptable team players who can add significant value.
Our Guest: Sarah Peiker, CEO, Orion Talent
On our latest WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Sarah Peiker, CEO of Orion Talent. She holds over 20 years of global expertise in recruitment outsourcing and talent management. Sarah is bridging the gap in military and civilian careers. She delivers veteran talent at scale. Additionally, Orion Talent has a strong reputation in military and diversity hiring. This is in response to the reality that many veterans remain an untapped resource for employers.
Sarah starts off by explaining the reasons that cause military and civilian divide.
“Many companies don’t understand how to transition service members’ hard and soft skills into civilian roles. As a result, there is a military and civilian divide. Transitioning military personnel may not know how to transfer their skills. Additionally, employers don’t always know to leverage their skills. We speak different languages in the business and military world.”
Obstacles That Prevent Military Hiring
Landing meaningful work has remained a challenge for veterans for several decades. This is mostly due to prejudices of how they think, feel, and act post-service. When it boils down to why this pool of talent is often overlooked, not much has changed. Sarah explains:
“There’s this misconception that a skill must be directly transferable in order for it to be relevant. There are misconceptions about veterans. A lot of people think that veterans can only follow orders. That they have PTSD. That they will be called back to active duty. That they’re rigid.”
Transferring Military Skills to Civilian Roles
There are key skills and principles veterans develop while serving in the military that can directly transfer into the common workplace:
“There’s a mindset of persistent training. As a result, [Veterans] are never too busy to train. Furthermore, they are constantly learning and improving their skills. They think mission-first and they motivate people with clear communication.”
The ‘Never Stop Innovating’ Mindset
Innovation and technology improve business operations as well as the military. This has allowed military workers to quickly adjust to change. Much like corporate employees who have had to maintain performance in the office amidst technical disruption.
“It’s about embracing technology but still moving forward. The nonstop forward movement is the reality and the only way to maintain a talent advantage.”
It’s assumed that those who serve in the military lack technical experience. As a result, employers are more likely to pass them over. Sarah debunks this myth:
“Veterans are working on electronic systems that have to be maintained in the middle of a desert, an ocean, or a jungle. Technology is critical for them.”
The Advantages of Military Hiring
A growing number of employers are on the lookout for talent with soft skills. Veterans have developed just that during their years of service. Sarah dives into the top soft skills veterans display in service:
“Accountability, reliability, discipline, stress tolerance, adaptability, leadership, and problem-solving. Service members transitioning out of the military have these soft skills. Furthermore, they are also very diverse. The military inherently runs 40% racially diverse. Veterans are also a melting pot of diverse socio-economic backgrounds.”
How To Help Veterans Thrive in the Workforce
It’s time employers start thinking about ways they can support veterans who are entering the civilian workforce. Sarah explains that this starts with viewing veterans as a valued community:
“Think of veterans as a community like you would any other underrepresented group. That’s what employers need to be thinking about.”
For employers looking to hire military veterans, Sarah leaves us with an in-depth list of tips to do it right.
“Get the buy-in you need from key personnel. From decision-makers, talent acquisition professionals, human resources, and operations managers. It’s also important to make sure everyone supports hiring military candidates. Track and measure results. This includes metrics on hiring performance data and retention rates. Do your homework before determining your hiring model. Build a hiring process that works towards a positive candidate experience.”
I hope you enjoyed this episode of #WorkTrends, sponsored by Orion Talent. To learn more about driving diversity in business through military hiring, contact Sarah on LinkedIn.