Veteran services

3 ways to invest in veteran employees

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In May, we celebrate and recognize the sacrifices made by members of our nation’s armed forces with Military Appreciation Month. If your company has dedicated time and resources to recruiting veterans or is actively stepping up those efforts, you also need to think about ways to invest in their success once they’ve been hired. Here are some tips and best practices to keep in mind.

Evaluate your benefits and policies

When it comes to fostering a diverse and engaged workforce, actions speak louder than words. With veterans and military-related individuals, you can take action by building more benefits into your company’s offerings. For veterans, the group life and health insurance products available can be valuable supplements to the coverage these employees have through the government. If you employ a significant number of veterans or are actively recruiting from this group, you should want to offer benefits that are exclusive to their circumstances and lifestyle. Not only are many of these options offered at lucrative rates, but they offer something that traditional providers don’t: more comprehensive and personalized customer service features and financial education tools for employees related to IT. ‘army.

Working from home or in a hybrid model is now commonplace in many industries. Be sure to extend all of your flexible work options to military spouses and veterans. Providing a serving spouse with job security in the face of relocation or allowing a recently separated veteran to find a forever home while maintaining employment with your company is very helpful for employees and allows your organization to retain best talents, regardless of their location and lifestyle. .

Research affinity groups and employee assistance programs and let employees know about them. These can vary in kind, but many give veterans direct access to additional resources and incentives – ranging from referrals to trusted mortgage providers to veteran discounts on gym memberships and easy access to physical and mental health assistance. Show your support and appreciation by proactively connecting with affinity groups and making their resources available to veteran employees upon onboarding and on an ongoing basis through internal communications.

Encourage networking

Many hired veterans will be at a major turning point in their lives and careers. Leveraging existing talent and structures within your organization can help them feel welcome and supported. If your organization employs other veterans or military-related individuals, consider creating an employee resource group specifically for them. It can be a great space for them to build mentoring relationships, learn about company culture, and connect over shared experiences. Business leaders, especially those involved in HR and benefits decisions, need to stay in touch with this group. Gathering their feedback and concerns about things like family leave, childcare, and training programs can help identify the need for change. Active listening and responding to improve and change company policies will be appreciated by all of your employees.

Promote continuing education

If your company is committed to increasing the hiring of veterans, you also need a strong training program in place. Providing veterans and military spouses with easy access to certifications, college credit, or tuition assistance is always a win-win. They will improve their skills and gain confidence in a new workplace or industry and what they learn will make them a great asset to your organization. Make sure your HR reps and anyone mentoring veterans take the time to ask them what they want from their careers in the future and encourage them to think about higher education.

On-the-job training and development programs for new hires from all walks of life are also essential to maintaining a strong workforce. If you have a network of seasoned employees, this is a great opportunity to encourage mentorship within specific teams and departments through training and development programs. Talk to new and returning employees and let them participate in creating these programs. Their experience can inform decisions about the structure, goals, and parameters of training and development efforts.

If you’re still building your workforce of seasoned employees, look to outside organizations and affiliates to increase your offer for these new hires. Companies like American Corporate Partners can help with mentoring, recruiting, onboarding and more while you establish internal policies for these efforts.

Engage with other businesses and service organizations

Even if your veteran hiring and engagement program is strong, look outward and look for opportunities to partner with local and national service organizations that help veterans and their families. Countless groups exist with interests ranging from general awareness and support to a specific industry or issue. Explore affiliate programs with these organizations to see if they can offer specific services to your veteran employees, such as mental health resources or financial counseling services that will complement company-provided benefits.

Another great way to keep employees of all backgrounds engaged and strengthen your ties with other local military and community organizations is to provide dedicated annual employee volunteer hours. Again, it’s a win-win for local nonprofits, veteran employees looking to stay engaged in service, and your company as it expands its role as a changemaker for staff and the community.

Justin C. Pearson, First Sergeant, U.S. Army (Retired), is Vice President of Business Development at the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA). Justin served in the US Army for 20 years, earning the Bronze Star during a combat tour in Afghanistan. Justin has experience managing strategic partnerships and working with Fortune 1000 companies to expand their military talent pool.