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Starting a Company Mentoring Program for Veterans

By Mary Leone - Mar 1, 2021 12:18:58 PM - 8 MINS READ

I think about my high school swim coach, Tom Hargraves.  He believed in me, gave me opportunities and inspired me to be my best – in so many areas of my life.  He was my first mentor. 

Is your company mentoring program becoming a game changer? 

The Empire Strikes Back 

“Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.”   

Over the past couple of years, I have become very passionate about helping veterans in transition.  There are over 200,000 transitioning military EVERY year.  And there are companies – for profit and not for profit – that do this well! 

As we dive into mentoring, there are SEVERAL great mentoring programs that help transitioning military and military spouse.  And yes, they come in several flavors. 

Have you heard about Veterati?  American Corporate Partners (ACP)?  Four Block?   

Did I hear a NO?  You need to Google them now (or at least after you finish reading this blog). 

Several in corporate America and veteran service organizations (VSOs) figured out the secret sauce.  Mentoring, in whatever form it takes, is crucial for a successful transition.   

If you don’t have a veteran mentoring program at your company – start NOW!  This helps tremendously with the ~50% turnover rate that is typical for veterans in their first role, after they transition.  Who wants to keep filling half their roles every year?  Not me! 

“There is no try.”  You need to DO.  THIS.  NOW. 

Robert Frost 

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”  

For those of you who have had a mentor…..close your eyes.  What is the best advice that you received from him or her?  Did you ever have to really THINK about the advice and how to apply it?  I have! 

Was your mentor a teacher?  Or an awakener? 

31 Flavors 

Do you want a mentoring program that is plain vanilla or do you want rocky road and peppermint bonbon?  Here are some examples: 

  • They can be structured and follow certain curriculum.   
  • Or they can be informal, where you meet someone you think can help you (or you help them). 
  • Or during the on-boarding process, an organization can match you with someone to help you be successful. 

All of these types of programs can be helpful.  Whether candidates are interviewing at a company, have already started or have worked there a couple of years, they WILL ask about the mentoring program.   

As a company, you need to figure out WHAT will help you with your retention, anHOW that will help your new or existing employees.   

But wait, there is more….. 

For those companies that have employee resources groups (ERGs) – phone a friend.  I guarantee these groups (whatever type of diversity they represent) want to help their members (aka your employees) be successful. 

For you Harry Potter fans out there, take some advice from Professor Dumbledore.  He was a wise and kind mentor, providing Harry with a plethora of advice.   

“Humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.” 

What can we learn from him?  Find a mentor!  Start a mentoring program!  The time is NOW! 

Mary Leone is a talent acquisition professional that has a passion for diversity recruiting.  She has partnered with Alan Klapman to form Diversity Outreach Partners, which can help your business build, grow and document your diversity outreach efforts.  You can find her on LinkedIn, writing about diversity recruiting, transitioning veterans or people with disabilities.  She actively volunteers as Vice Chair for Disability:IN North Texas and as a Networking Facilitator/Career Coach at Vets2Industry.   

Mary Leone

Related Posts:

VETS Launches New Pilot Program for Transitioning Services Members and Their Spouses

Apr 12, 2021 1:59:29 PM - READ TIME 2 MINS

Pilot will expand on the resources of the current Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

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