Each year, many veterans leave the military and return to civilian life. Men and women who have served in the military can make excellent employees, but there are steps employers can take to make them particularly comfortable in the workplace and to make the most of their talents.
Life in the military is very different from civilian life, and with this in mind, employers can offer support to veterans. Managers who are unfamiliar with military life and the challenges veterans face might want to do some research to get a better idea. On a larger scale, workplaces can offer training to managers to help prepare them to work with veterans.
One adjustment that veterans face in leaving the military is the loss of a community. The military provides strong support to its service members and their families. The position goes beyond simply having a job, and service members are friends and neighbors with one another. A workplace where people lead very separate lives can be a big adjustment. Connecting veterans with mentors and making an effort to create optional social activities in the workplace can help.
Clear communication, explicit job duties and an established chain of command are all features of military life that may not exist in an office environment. Some of this can be handled during orientation after veterans are hired. An organizational chart and information about benefits and other workplace policies should be easily accessible. Managers might also help veterans by encouraging them to stop by their office and talk to them. Some of the subtler aspects of office communication may be less apparent to veterans who are accustomed to more direct speech, and managers should be prepared to explain things more at length as necessary.
Another thing that is very explicit in the military is how promotion happens. Offering explicit opportunities for professional development aimed at veterans and being clear about how to move up is important. This can also help ensure that veterans remain at the organization.
Around 7% of adults are veterans. They have developed valuable skills and a strong work ethic in the military, and those positive qualities can be directed in the civilian workplace in a way that enhances both the veteran’s career and the company itself.