It is November, a month when we celebrate thanks. “Thanks” is often a word of reflex. But what if we really put thanks into action.
On November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day. We reflect on those serving, those who served, and those who offered the ultimate sacrifice of their life. Reflection is appropriate, but we can do more. There are over 300,000 Veterans seeking employment in a labor force that is in dire need of talent. Their numbers are improving, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a positive trend.
Many employers view a Military resume as lacking relevant civilian work experience. That is true—they have jobs that are military related, but many of their skills, talents, and abilities are not dissimilar to what corporations seek.
When my son returned from a yearlong deployment, he told me “Mission accomplished: we all came home safe.” Knowing he was often in harm’s way, I asked, how? He told me that it was the team. “We work well together, collaborate, listen, and communicate and trust each other,” he said. The very essence of military training is about discipline, teamwork, trust, and getting the job done.
Think about companies identifying their values. Very often they are: collaboration, integrity, relationships, loyalty, and respect. So why do Military vets struggle to enter the civilian workforce? I think employers are missing the mark by not including Veterans in their applicant pool. Currently, we are hearing of a labor shortage, especially in logistics and supply chain. Did you know that a Lieutenant is responsible for millions of dollars of high-value equipment? That means inventory, deployment, and accountability. That’s probably more responsibility than most supply chain positions require. And when you consider the values mentioned above and the inherent discipline and work ethic, it sounds like an ideal team member.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been brought to the forefront by many social and political issues over the last few years. When we speak about inclusion, it means including people that are not just like everyone else…someone who has different skills, a different background, and a different perspective. Inclusion makes a team better. When we talk about inclusion, do we include veterans?
Enhancing the transition from military to civilian should be a priority for employers. Including veterans in the employment process should be a leadership directive. If it comes from the top, the importance becomes clear. Let’s all promote the value of considering Veterans for employment. It’s a great way to say thanks for having our backs, missing family and holidays, and for being selfless!