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, contactSarah on LinkedIn.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/diversity-inclusion-848x500-1.png500848Meghan M. Birohttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngMeghan M. Biro2022-02-11 18:42:362022-04-22 10:17:47Military Hiring – Diversity, Inclusion & Business Success
There are millions of stories in the world of work. But this time, it’s personal. For me, #TChat hit close to home yesterday, when discussing issues and opportunities associated with military veteran employment. Therefore, rather than recapping the event in detail, I’d like to illustrate some key points through one soldier’s story. …
(To see highlights from the #TChat stream, watch the slideshow at the end of this post.)
One Veteran’s Dilemma
A close friend is one of the 2.4 million Americans who have volunteered to serve in the War on Terror. As a “civilian soldier” deployed as an embedded trainer by the Army National Guard, he left behind his full-time job and his comfortable family life in suburban Chicago. Since returning from Afghanistan almost 5 years ago, he has struggled to re-enter the workforce, as so many in uniform must do in these challenging economic times.
It shouldn’t have to be that way. This soldier’s credentials are impressive:
Several decades of business experience — including 14 years as a technical sales specialist at one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies
An honors degree in communications from one of our nation’s most prestigious universities
Meritorious service in three branches of the armed forces
So why was it so difficult for him to find a good employment fit when he returned?
This thoughtful soldier would say, “It’s complicated.” Partially, it’s because businesses seem reluctant to take a chance on someone who could be recalled to active duty at any time. It’s also partially because some decision-makers seem intimidated by an impressive military profile. And, partially, it’s because his years of technical sales experience seem to over-qualify him for positions he would gladly pursue. (Ironically, as he has reminded me, he willingly traveled to a remote destination halfway around the world to perform tasks that were dirty, dangerous and sometimes mind-numbingly mundane, all in service of a higher mission.)
It seems ridiculous that business weren’t finding him attractive. It is even more ridiculous to learn that he was passed over not once, but twice, for a “troops-to-teachers” government initiative. Why? Apparently, the program didn’t feel that inner-city teens could learn English from a man who had trained poor Afghans to protect remote border villages from Taliban invasions, and had fostered productive relationships with wary Afghan tribal elders.
What’s happening here? It seems there are other factors to consider. It may not be obvious, but if we want to crack the employment code for returning veterans, it deserves a closer look.
Hiring Vets: More Than a Few Good Men (& Women)
Here’s my theory: If this soldier’s story is any indicator, we should recognize that this has been a very different kind of war — and its unique character fundamentally shifts the perceptions of those who serve.
Many missions include a strong humanitarian component. Objectives have centered on winning hearts and minds, while equipping Afghans to protect and sustain themselves through improvements in infrastructure, governance, agriculture, education and commerce.
Recent veterans have had a life-and-death hand in the future of the Afghan people. Regardless of their rank, they have contributed in a meaningful way, typically persevering in desperate and desolate conditions.
After such intense involvement in a mission, it’s a tremendous shock to return home to the U.S. and carry on as usual, without a strong sense of purpose. Perhaps that’s one reason why so many veterans sign up for subsequent tours of duty. Despite the clear-and-present need for an income stream, could it be that many vets aren’t simply searching for a job, but instead are seeking meaningful work?
NOTE: Many #TChat participants offered constructive ideas to improve the re-entry, recruiting and onboarding experience for veterans. For highlights and links to helpful resources, scroll to the end of this post and check out the Storify slideshow there.
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Highlights & What’s Ahead on #TChat
SPECIAL THANKS to this week’s guest moderator, Brenden “Bo” Wright (@BrendenMWright), director of information technology recruiting at Laureate Education. He’s also a Marine veteran who served as a nuclear, biological and chemical defense specialist. Brenden’s expertise in talent acquisition strategy and as a former member of the military brought tremendous depth and dimension to this week’s discussion. Did you miss the #TChat preview? Go here.
NOTE: If you’re a blogger and this #TChat session inspired you to write about veteran employment issues, we’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (at #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll add it to our archives. There are many voices in the #TChat community, with many ideas worth sharing. Let’s capture as many of them as possible. And we hope you’ll join us next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) for another #TChat, when we’ll be exploring issues related to government policy and human resources. Look for the preview early next week via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Enjoy your weekend!
The long-term unemployed get airtime and programs to help them retrain and find new career paths. Millennials looking for the first big job, and a way to pay school loans, draw lots of attention. But we could probably spend much more time, as a society, talking about military veterans and the challenges they face reentering the civilian workforce.
Vets have tremendously strong skill sets. Depending upon their service, they may have skills such as people management, logistics, mechanical engineering, IT, aircraft repair, med tech, civil engineering/construction, language arts and more. Most importantly, they understand teamwork and the practical, rather than theoretical, value of collaboration. So why is it so hard for them to come home to civilian jobs?
The country faces huge cuts in its defense budget. The government is trying hard to wind down one war, and equally hard to avoid formal engagement on other fronts. Caught in the middle are tens of thousands of servicemen and women — and their families — who may need a slot in a shaky civilian economy. What can we do to help them? How can we best manage them? What skills do we, as leaders and HR people, need to refresh or acquire to accommodate our veterans in today’s world of work?
These are tough questions, practical and pressing concerns. And we’re going to take them on this week on #TChat. Here are a few questions to guide our discussion:
Q1: US legislation is creating skill certifications for military experience. What else could be done? Q2: What management styles work best when leading an employee with military experience? Q3: What’s the biggest challenge for veterans in the civilian world of work? Q4: Does long-term loyalty help or hinder the career of a veteran in today’s workplace? Q5: How can HR/recruiting tech help internally assess and translate veteran assets to employers?
You may not know anyone who served in a war, and you may not know much about the Korean conflict or the Vietnam War. That’s OK. Just do some research — i.e., talk to your parents, uncles, aunts and friends. Then, join us for a very special #TChat this Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are).
We’re not afraid to take on difficult topics, and we know you aren’t either. Our guest moderator this week is Brenden “Bo” Wright (@BrendenMWright), director of information technology recruiting at Laureate Education and, as a veteran marine, a former nuclear, biological and chemical defense specialist. Yours truly (@MeghanMBiro) and the rest of the #TChat gang will be there, too. We look forward to Brenden’s thoughts and yours. Tweet with us!