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Strategies for Retaining Veterans in the Workplace

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, we go over numerous strategies that can help organizations retain veterans. This includes valuing military service, mentorship, and more.

Retaining Veterans in the Workplace

Veterans bring lots of valuable skills to any workplace. They are hard workers. They know how to work in teams. They are loyal, punctual, and highly efficient individuals.

But not every veteran will stay at a job for long if they feel undervalued. This isn't to say that veterans require special treatment. Rather, it's about creating an inclusive culture at work that respects veterans like any other valuable member of society or an organization.

Now, let's go over some strategies that can help retain veterans in the workplace.

Value Military Service

One strategy involves valuing a veteran's military service. There are numerous sub-strategies for this. For example, the company can host a Veterans Day gathering to show appreciation for its veteran staff members.

Another sub-strategy is a bit more higher-order. Veterans know they have a lot to give to an organization with respect to their skill set. If their skills, such as leadership capabilities, are under-utilized, then veterans may feel under-valued. So, ensure you try to utilize a veteran's diverse skill-set as much as possible in their job.

Open Conversation

Veterans want to ensure that they aren't a burden to anybody. Thus, they may be afraid of speaking up about a problem they are facing, especially as a new civilian employee. It's critical that your organization emphasize open communication between veterans and other employees to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between groups that might lead to a veteran's untimely and unnecessary departure.

Employ Peer-to-Peer Mentorship

Veterans face unique challenges when entering the workforce, so one of the best ways to help retain them is to ensure they are engaged with a peer, ideally another veteran, in the company who has gone through a similar transition. This mentor can help the incoming veteran navigate corporate culture and language. The mentor can also advise the veteran on how to deal with informal or unspoken rules in the company and how best to transition to the workforce in a structured way.

Build a Veteran-Friendly Culture

It's a bit unfair, however, to only expect the veteran to change and adapt to the civilian workplace. It's equally important that current staff members be educated about the military lifestyle, culture, language, and just plain common decency toward veterans. A veteran wouldn't want to work for an organization where its staff members constantly ask him to relive his or her battlefield experiences or hound him or her about the number of people they killed.

While not every veteran sees gruesome combat action, all veterans want to avoid being stereotyped or being asked inappropriate questions, and this is where such education comes in.

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