Why your talent acquisition strategy should include veterans…and 5 ways to help make it happen

Why your talent acquisition strategy should include veterans...and 5 ways to help make it happen

Posted by Robin Erickson, Ph.D. on May 21, 2015.

Would it surprise you to know that as recently as May 2013 more than half (55 percent) of employers surveyed weren’t participating in a recruiting initiative specifically aimed at veterans?1 I find it surprising because the case for hiring veterans is so compelling—it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do:

  • Veterans often possess traits that can bring value to competitive business environments, including an entrepreneurial mind-set, advanced team-building skills, ability to adapt and perform in changing environments, high levels of trust in leadership, and more.2
  • Technical proficiency is high among many veterans, as it is common for military personnel to receive technical training specific to their role in the military. Orion International, a job recruitment firm for officers and enlisted technicians, finds that the level of field experience and technical specialization possessed by veterans often exceeds that of a civilian with a degree or certification.3
  • Eighty-six percent of the business and HR leaders surveyed for Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report cite leadership as one of their most important challenges, yet very few (6 percent) believe their leadership pipeline is “very ready.” It’s likely that veterans could help fill this gap. Veterans often have strong leadership skills that include the ability to foster cultural inclusion, promote teamwork, motivate a diverse workforce, and attain goals. Further, they are typically able to demonstrate these leadership skills in stressful situations.4
  • Finally, the skilled veteran workforce has been found to be 4 percent more productive and 3 percent less likely to turn over than the overall civilian workforce.5

Despite compelling reasons for hiring them, veterans have experienced higher unemployment rates than nonveterans since the start of the recession.But it’s encouraging to see how many companies are stepping up to try to reverse that trend by implementing a variety of veteran recruiting and hiring initiatives. Here are a few considerations:

  • Setting significant veteran hiring targets
    In the vein of “what gets measured gets done,” some companies are making it a goal to hire more veterans. For example, insurance and financial services group USAA has one of the more aggressive veteran hiring targets, committing that 30 percent of its hiring will come from the military community (including both veterans and their spouses).7
  • Providing business skills training
    Many companies have internal initiatives aimed at educating veterans. These programs are often headed by in-house veterans. For example, technology giant Cisco Systems, Inc., has taken the proactive approach of offering technology training to returning veterans and active military personnel. The Cisco Networking Academy offers information and communication technology (ICT) and networking courses at community colleges, universities, and military bases nationwide.8
  • Establishing military-friendly hiring websites
    Veterans and employers alike often struggle to translate military experience into civilian job skills. Some companies foster this transition and help bridge the gap using technology. Transportation and supply chain management provider Ryder System, Inc., hosts a jobs webpage that connects veterans to a military translator to help candidates parlay their military skills and experiences into language used in the private sector.9
  • Participating in or hosting military job fairs
    Hundreds of military-focused job fairs are held across the country each year, with the largest fair hosting over 4,000 veterans.10 For example, financial services firm Edward Jones utilizes military job fairs such as Military MOJO to recruit for their FORCES program to train veterans for careers in finance11.
  • Providing internships and scholarships
    Some organizations are extending common undergraduate recruiting programs to enhance opportunities for veterans. While internships and scholarships don’t necessarily lead to full-time employment, they do provide veterans the opportunity to “test drive” a private sector career or further their education.

These topics and more are explored in more detail in the new Bersin by Deloitte publication, From the Armed Forces to the Workforce: Why Veteran Hiring Is Both the Right Thing to Do and a Smart Move to Make. The report also includes lists of resources to assist organizations in building veteran-friendly hiring practices, job boards to post and search for jobs, and services and publications to help prepare veterans for employment.

I encourage you to make this Memorial Day about more than the start of summer by downloading this complimentary Bersin by Deloitte report that can help you find ways to hire the veterans who have served and returned home.


Robin Erickson Robin Erickson, Ph.D., is the vice president for Talent Acquisition Research at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. She writes about various topics in retention and talent acquisition, including integrating with talent management, enhancing quality of hire for critical jobs, leveraging social recruiting to build talent pools, and building a global recruiting function. Follow Robin on Twitter @RAEricksonPhD and visit her blog, Talent Magnetism.

1 “Veterans Talent Index,” Monster.com, 2014, www.monster.com/about/veterans-talent-index.
2Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families, 2012.
3From the Armed Forces to the Workforce, Bersin by Deloitte, 2015.
4“The Value of Veterans,” Military.com / Ho Lin, n.d., www.military.com/ veteran-jobs/career-advice/military-transition/value-of-veterans-in-civilian-jobs.html.
5The Business Case for Hiring Veterans, the Corporate Executive Board Company, CEB Corporate Leadership Council, 2013, www.callofdutyendowment.org/ content/dam/atvi/callofduty/code/media_kit/CEB_Hiring_Veterans_Study.pdf.
6“Why is joblessness for veterans so high?” MoneyWatch, Constantine von Hoffman, May 23, 2014, www.cbsnews.com/news/why-is-joblessness-for-veterans-so-high/.
7“Military and Spouses,” usaajobs.com, n.d., www.usaajobs.com/military/ index.html.
8”Technology Education for Veterans and Active Military,” cisco.com, n.d., www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad/us-can/veterans.html
9Bersin by Deloitte interview.
10 “JBLM hosts nation’s biggest military jobs fair,” The News Tribune / Rob Carson, October 23, 2014, www.thenewstribune.com/2014/10/23/3448428/jblm-hosts-nations-biggest-jobs.html.
11“Companies look for creative ways to bring veterans into their workforce,” The Washington Post / Sarah Halzack, November 10, 2013, www.washingtonpost.com/ business/capitalbusiness/companies-look-for-creative-ways-to-bring-veterans-into-their-workforce/2013/11/08/28d9296e-40aa-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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