TIME TO READ: 4 MINUTES
This November, something we're thankful for: Our Military Veterans.
Not just for their defense of our nation though. We're also thankful for the work ethic so many veterans bring into the private sector, when they leave the service.
Military veterans bring plenty of benefits to the IT world…and in fact, to any other business that hires them.
In this WOOF we're giving thanks by sharing why we believe in hiring veterans. We'll also make the case for hiring veterans in any other business—including yours.
The Biggest Challenge Faced by American Businesses
Almost every business survey points to 'hiring qualified employees' as their #1 challenge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since May 1969. That means just 3.6% of the available workforce remains out of work.
Naturally, employers are scrambling to fill openings and take advantage of our booming economy. Companies have to get creative when hiring...sometimes thinking of ways outside the box.
We agree with Peter Schultz, former CEO of Porsche and motivational speaker, when he said, "Hire character. Train skill."
The Challenges Veterans Face in the Workforce
Most Americans have little exposure to active military or veterans. Less than 33% of our population has any link to a Service Member, past or present. Public perception of military personnel comes more from Hollywood or the media, than from direct personal experience.
You might think that most of our military veterans served in active combat, but most don't see live combat. 80% of military jobs are non-combat operations (e.g. logistics, engineering, service jobs, etc.).
Even so, studies have shown that veterans often come up against unfortunate misconceptions when returning to the private workforce. For instance, that some veterans work better with things than with people.
A Duke University study conducted earlier this year confirmed this: Research Shows Military Service Can Hurt Some Job Seekers’ Prospects
The study showed a bias against veterans does exist, even though employers often didn't realize it.
As a proof, the study tried adding social/emotional experience to military resumes (e.g. overseas volunteer efforts). The hiring bias evaporated.
Why Veterans Can Make Great IT Professionals
You might think an IT position works well for veterans. It's process-driven, very technical, and you're mostly working with machines instead of people.
However, we prefer to hire veterans for IT positions not just because of their technical expertise. It's because over the long term, they can work out well for the rigors of IT work. Intellectually and emotionally.
Our reasons for the preference:
- Many veterans served in technical roles so they come to us with a good technical foundation.One employment reference we called stated that the candidate “can cable while under fire.”
- They understand discipline and commitment.
- They know how to work as a team and within hierarchies.
- They already use problem-solution thinking.
- They are taught responsibility and integrity.
In short, veterans can be easy to train for IT work. They already have most of the skill set needed to succeed. All we need to do is train them on specific business IT solutions.
Which is exactly what we've done for the past 10+ years. If you're a PlanetMagpie Support customer, you've received support from one of our military veteran team members.
These benefits don't stay within the IT field though. Hiring veterans can bring a slew of benefits to any & all businesses...including cost savings!
How Veterans Can Benefit Every Business (Including Yours)
Every new employee benefits the business. When that new employee is a veteran, you can look forward to both hard cost benefits and team-building "soft" skills.
Let's illustrate the "soft" skills first:
- Efficiency—the ability to multitask, and meet deadlines
- Focus—staying focused on the problem before them
- Working under pressure and taking charge when needed
Now, the hard cost benefits. These may surprise you:
- Veterans come pre-trained for multiple skills: technology, leadership, and safety. Meaning they will operate at a higher level almost from Day 1.
- Your business can get tax credits for hiring veterans. Consider it a 'thank you' from Uncle Sam.
Hiring veterans can actually help the bottom line, the team, and the business!
One Caveat: Active-Duty Soldiers Can Cause a Hole in Your Team
Most veterans applying for work will have retired or been discharged from military service. However, some may still have a service commitment (e.g., Reservists/Ready Reserves).
This creates a caveat to veteran hiring: If they're still active-duty, the military can recall your employee to serve at any time.
By law, all U.S. employers must provide "military leave" to employees in the Reserves. Unfortunately, this means you may lose a key employee during a deployment. Sometimes for months.
You can hire in their absence to fill the gap, but this may put you in a bad spot when the employee returns...because by law, you must reinstate the employee to their original job (or one with similar duties). This could leave you overstaffed in the event you had to hire in their absence.
This page has details on military leave & federal law for employers, including helpful links: Military Leave Laws for Employees - BizFilings. You can also check with the hiring sources below for advice.
For Your Next Hire, Bring a Veteran on Board
Interested in hiring a veteran? Here are some websites to start you off:
HR Note: You can request a copy of DoD Form DD-214 ('Long Form' Version) from the veteran. This is a "Certificate of Discharge from Active Duty," which shows the veteran's discharge status (Honorable, Dishonorable, Entry-Level Discharge, etc.). It serves as proof of the veteran's military service, and as an assurance that the military won't deploy them again, except in a National Crisis.
If you'd like to see the kind of dedication and work ethic a veteran brings, and you're not a PlanetMagpie customer yet, just call us for IT Support! We demonstrate their talents in our team, every day.
Interested in veterans taking care of your IT? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk business!
Updated September 2021.