(BPT) - Diversity is a growing priority in America's workforce, but veterans may not be the first group of potential employees that come to mind.
National Hire a Veteran Day on July 25 is an important reminder of the varied perspectives and transferrable skills military veterans bring home to the civilian workforce. Yet, many of them face challenges when leaving military service.
Veterans especially feel the economic pressures of today. The 2022 Annual Warrior Survey from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) found that more than half of WWP warriors couldn't make ends meet at some point in the past 12 months. Most reported the soaring cost of goods as the top cause of financial strain.
WWP warriors also reported that their top barriers to employment were difficulty translating their military skills and mental distress. These challenges make veterans' transitions even harder, but employers can help.
"Companies can play a unique role in addressing these challenges by understanding the value veterans bring to the workplace and tailoring hiring strategies to veterans," said Tom Kastner, vice president of financial wellness at WWP. "Not only will this help veterans achieve gainful employment and financial stability, but it also unlocks an underutilized talent source for business growth."
Here are three reasons why including veterans in hiring initiatives gives companies a competitive advantage and removes employment barriers.
1. A diverse hiring pool
Veterans have a broad range of experiences and backgrounds that make them a diverse group. They have encountered various situations in the military that shaped their worldview, often in unpredictable environments. These experiences lead to more inclusive decision-making and problem-solving in the civilian workplace.
2. Unique transferable skills
According to data from global management consulting firm McKinsey, the most diverse companies outperform their less diverse competitors in profitability. Veterans developed diverse skills in high-pressure environments that can contribute to any company's bottom line.
Employers who recognize these skills and expand their understanding of the veteran community gain talented and dependable employees. One company that has put this into practice is Verizon. Recognized for its military recruitment and hiring practices, Verizon employs over 8,000 veterans and benefits from their skills across various career areas.
3. Supporting wounded warriors' well-being
The vocational and mental health barriers some veterans face can cause stigma and prevent them from seeking help. Employers can address their challenges and needs by including them in hiring initiatives. For example, businesses can provide services that promote veterans' holistic well-being.
Mentoring programs, resource groups, and tailored job postings are examples of support that can go a long way in setting veterans up for success. Johnson & Johnson, for example, established the Veterans Leadership Council to help veterans connect, network, and grow. The council also advocates for veterans' health and wellness needs.
Veterans aren't the only ones who benefit from these initiatives. When organizations support veterans, they reinforce a culture that prioritizes diversity and invests in the well-being and success of all employees.
Your partner in veteran hiring, recruitment, and inclusion
Many employers need help building initiatives that include and support veterans. That's why Wounded Warrior Project developed the Warriors to Work® program.
This program helps companies understand the unique needs of wounded veterans, find candidates, retain them for long-lasting careers, and become preferred veteran employers. Specifically, Warriors to Work helps employers develop onboarding processes and identify optimal roles for veterans. The program also educates companies by providing employer resources that reduce stigmas around veteran employment.
Companies that invest in hiring and supporting veterans empower them to reach their highest ambitions and promote a more diverse workforce culture. Learn how you can become a more veteran-friendly employer.