January 9, 2023

Veterans: The value of recruiting, developing, and retaining a mission-ready workforce

How Companies Benefit from Hiring Veterans
Despite companies’ growing interests in hiring veterans for their unique experiences and abilities, the reluctance to do so is primarily rooted in difficulties translating the acronyms that typically make up the veterans’ resumes. According to the Washington Post, veterans often run into difficulties explaining how their military experience can be adapted to the business world. They often receive either flawed or limited help from military programs, which is made more ineffective by legacy computer-based hiring systems. Furthermore, most businesses “simply don’t know enough” about military hierarchies and culture, which translates into a lack of understanding towards which armed service jobs reflect high-performance status. 

Contrary to popular belief, veterans often come out of the military already possessing key competencies that are transferable across all industries. Some of the most commonly desired strengths sought after by recruiters, including teamwork, critical thinking, resilience, and leadership, are already present in those who have previously served—and are by far some of the most difficult competencies to instill and train. Hiring veterans based on their competencies rather than their credentials can not only increase company performance, but also result in the hiring of dedicated employees who already possess the capabilities to succeed. 

 

5 Core Professional Competencies 
Leadership

From education to business, every industry can benefit from leaders, who can rally and inspire people to achieve a common goal. In the military, the mission comes first, but people are forever. In other words, most veterans embody the principle of getting the job done while also balancing the needs of their teams. Whether it's by demonstrating a visible commitment to your organization’s mission, or displaying flexibility and resilience in the context of emerging business challenges, the majority of veterans possess the underlying capabilities that make effective leaders.

Conflict Management
As leaders in their previous roles, veterans are equipped with a set of unique conflict management capabilities that can minimize tension within their teams. Successful service members understand the importance of completing a mission all while ensuring team cohesiveness.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Critical thinking is one of the most important technical competencies veterans bring to the table. The ability to follow through on assignments despite difficult or stressful circumstances is one of ten core competencies Northeastern University lists as being the most important to apply across different civilian industries. Recruiters are looking for individuals, who can add value to their organization beyond their highly technical capabilities—veterans, who already possess problem-solving competencies, are more likely to propose innovative solutions, which can be predicted via digitally mapping out their potential and current skills

Communication & Team-Building
It’s no surprise that communication and teamwork are closely linked—and veterans excel in both. The US Department of Veteran Affairs considers teamwork “an essential part of daily life and is the foundation on which safe military operations are built.” Veterans recognize that learning how to work with every type of personality within the team is the key to success. Given their past experiences working with an array of people, veterans are actually more likely to work well in a team setting, which can also contribute to higher employee engagement and feed into better business performance: Gallup found that companies with an engaged workforce report a 23% increase in profits, along with higher productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction

Cross-Functional Capabilities
Among their valuable contributions to the labor force, veterans are typically equipped with an array of cross-functional capabilities, such as their knowledge of IT systems, financial management, and troubleshooting problems in both novel and known conditions. Due to the nature of their previous roles, the rigorous training that military members receive can produce highly motivated employees, who are determined to resolve complex issues without guidance. They’re typically self-starters, who apply what they know in a variety of situations to get the job done. 

Types of Jobs Veterans Excel In
With nearly 70% of competencies being shared across industries
, veterans have the potential to excel in any job. Claira’s AI-backed platform can help leaders create a translatable framework for understanding how a veteran’s past experiences and unique competencies can help predict future performance. Information technology, financial services, and management-related occupations are just a few examples of career pathways that veterans can be successful in, but possessing a strong work ethic, a desire to collaborate, and the ability to problem-solve can be applied in any industry.

On Purpose: Claira and Veterans
Organizations are only beginning to recognize the value of recruiting, developing, and retaining a mission-ready workforce that is not only technically-adept, but also finding individuals who possess the ability to learn quickly, respond to change, and lead their teams effectively. And veterans can add immeasurable value to the workforce. In 2021, the unemployment rate for veterans significantly outperformed civilian job rates (4.4% vs. 5.3%), indicating that civilian job opportunities for inactive service members are becoming more abundant. 

Two years ago, Claira launched on Veterans Day with the intention of helping veterans re-enter the workforce. Claira’s competency platform can help veterans translate their skills into actionable competency statements, leveraging AI and machine learning to match people to the correct roles. Staying cognizant of the environmental changes that shape a profession’s proficiency standards can be a challenge—and leaders who understand the inherent value that veterans can add to their labor force will see the greatest returns on their human capital investment.

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