Warning -- if you don't have a veterans recruiting strategy, you may experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). A fear of missing out on over 200,000 transitioning service members every year.
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
Is it personal? Do you have anyone in your family or a friend who served in the US armed forces?
Veterans Day was moved to November 11 in 1978 by President Ford. Before that, it was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Eisenhower.
A federal holiday, Veterans Day is celebrated to honor all those who served in the US armed forces. According to the US Census, that number is over 18 million (or more than 7% of the population).
Is your company hiring veterans? If not, here is what you are missing.
Show me the Numbers
The veteran population in general is educated with ~37% completing some college and over 27% holding a BS degree or higher.
Three states have veteran populations over 1 million -- California, Florida and Texas. Ten more states have veteran populations over 500,000.
And now the good news on diversity.....
According to the Census, the veteran population includes 9% females but is expected to jump to 17% by the year 2040.
In addition, roughly 43% have a service related disability.
And wait, there is more! When you look at the information from the Pew Research Center, the active duty military race/ethnicity demographics also changed. In 2004, the population was 36% minority/64% white and increased to 43% minority/57% white in 2017.
In 2004, that minority population was 51% Black and 25% Hispanic. But it changed in 2017 to be 39% Black and 36% Hispanic. Big change!
How Can You Avoid FOMO?
You are probably asking yourself, how do we avoid missing out on the talent veterans bring to the workforce? How can we improve our outreach to Veterans and make it part of our diversity recruiting strategy?
Did you know there are a whopping 45,000 veteran service organizations to help the over 200,000 transitioning service members each year? They range from education/training to career transition preparation (think resume writing, interview prep, networking) to mentoring and much more!
To start, here is a list of military friendly companies if you want to see what good and great look like! Be sure to scroll down the list of company names but also click right to their military-specific recruiting pages.
Take your marks, get set, GO!
Want to try something new, consider some of these options.
Identify the jobs that are a good fit for veterans, specifically in your company. Are these in cyber security or logistics or human resources or manufacturing? If you need help translating military job titles to corporate/industry job titles, here is a Military Skills Translator.
Engage your veteran ERG (employee resource group). If you don't have one, this is a great month to start. They can help with mentoring, engagement and retention, as well as serve as a willing pool of interviewers to give candidates a chance to see someone with a similar background in the hiring process.
Become a mentor. Several organizations (like Veterati, Bunker Labs and American Corporate Partners) provide a great opportunity to interact with veterans in transition. So many veterans who have successfully transitioned as well as advocates volunteer their personal time to mentor others.
Consider the Skills Bridge program. For service members within 180 days of their transition, industry partners can offer training and work experience opportunities while the participant continues to be paid his/her military compensation and receive military benefits.
Develop a relationship with a Veteran Service Organization (VSO). Through these relationships, you can sponsor webinars, attend networking events, serve as panelists and participate in job fairs. The list of great ones is long, but here is a sampling of some that regularly engage companies: Vets2Industry, USO Pathfinder Transition Program, Centurion Military Alliance, and Hire Heroes USA.
Conduct a webinar or participate on a panel. Did I mention there are 45,000 VSOs, with a lot of them looking for speakers and panelists? Feeling ambitious? Try hosting your own on a career transition topic or highlighting your success in the Veterans community.
So what are you waiting for? Stop missing out! Start now!
And as a reminder, remember to start with your strategy, think about what you want to accomplish, identify some metrics to measure your results and document your efforts.
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 (https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryleonelinkedin/), 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.
Other valuable resources: