Creating a Veteran Recruitment & Hiring Program: Resources & Best Practices

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Recruiting and hiring veterans requires focus and concentrated effort. In this lesson, you'll learn about best practices and available resources that can assist you in finding and employing former military personnel.

Career Change

From the front lines of battle to the front lines of a supply chain, veterans are finding a career where they can utilize their military training in an unlikely place: Amazon.

No, not the Amazon rainforest in South America, but the Amazon that sells everything from books to bicycles.

Amazon launched its Military Leaders program in 2017, putting more than 17,500 veterans and their spouses in roles from operations to web services. And, as a company, they have pledged to hire more than 10,000 more military personnel by 2021. They have succeeded in this initiative by developing a comprehensive recruiting and hiring program that includes plenty of training opportunities, an employee resource group that connects veterans in the workplace, and creating positions designed to fit with the lifestyles of today's military members.

They aren't the only company developing solid strategies to recruit and hire the nation's veterans. Starbucks, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, and Coca-Cola are all putting an emphasis on finding and employing military personnel.

There are lots of great reasons to make this part of a business strategy, ranging from the wealth of valuable skills veterans bring to the workforce to tax credits available to organizations for each veteran hired.

Let's take a look at some best practices leaders can use for developing a veteran recruitment and hiring program for their organization.

Best Practices in Hiring Veterans

Making the recruitment and hiring of veterans an intentional practice requires focused effort. Consider these strategies when developing your program:

  • Get employees involved. From senior managers to front-line workers, help others understand the importance of hiring veterans and make them a part of the process. For example, give them the tools and resources to advocate for your organization with veterans in the community. Ask current veteran employees to help recruit others.
  • Become a place veterans want to work. Develop viable reasons why an employment relationship between your organization and veterans is mutually beneficial and communicate those regularly.
  • Find veterans where they are. Look for recruiting events and community opportunities to interface with veterans and talk to them about your organization. Vet-specific organizations and job boards should be a focal point of your marketing and outreach.
  • Make it about business. Placating veterans just to be seen as nice or to garner positive attention in the media or community will not make for an effective relationship. Make your hiring of veterans part of your business strategy, such as looking for specific skills they possess that could benefit your company.
  • Focus on wording. Whether you're structuring a job description or screening resumes, use - and look for - verbiage that speaks specifically to military training or associated skills.
  • Provide internal programs. Like many other types of employees, veterans may require special support programs. You can invest in these workers by allowing them flexible shifts so they can attend to appointments or build employee resource groups to connect veterans inside your company.
  • Develop vet-specific marketing. Amazon, for example, has a targeted webpage devoted to veteran hiring. Show your commitment to hiring veterans with dedicated brochures or flyers in the community. Use pro-veteran language in these materials.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities. Perhaps more than civilian employees, veterans appreciate clarity in what is expected of them and how they can advance, both in title and monetarily, inside of your company. For many, this structure will help them - and you - be more successful.
  • Tell your success stories. Whether you highlight a successful veteran employee on your military employment page, ask an existing veteran employee to speak at a community event, or feature them on printed materials, highlighting your success stories can be encouraging to other veterans.
  • Educate civilian and veteran employees. Veterans may benefit from on-the-job training while civilian employees could use a primer on how the military is structured. A study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found than many Human Resources professionals don't adequately understand military rank or skill sets.

Resources To Help

If you need a helping hand when developing these programs, there is no shortage of options. Here are just a few:

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