If your organization is looking for employees that are trained leaders, quick thinkers, and detailed problem-solvers, then Veterans would make a great addition to your tech teams.
But hiring and retaining Veterans isn’t as simple as deciding to do so. You may need to adapt everything from your hiring process to onboarding and promotion pathways to become a Veteran-friendly organization. Here are seven key steps used by our corporate partners to get started.
1. Understand military skills
Some Veterans’ positions in the military match well with civilian positions. Others’ may seem unqualified, at least until you know how to translate their skills. If your organization struggles to get Veterans into interviews, your first action should be to improve your hiring team’s knowledge of military skills. You can also create resources for Veteran candidates that explain the hiring process and professional expectations, as our partner Grainger does.
2. Behavioral interviewing
Veterans generally perform best and are most comfortable with behavioral-based and situational interviews. For example, asking candidates with military backgrounds to talk about a time they solved a problem, quickly learned something new, or led a team will likely result in a more reviewable answer than a closed-ended question or question focused on an industry-specific skill.
3. Communicate onboarding expectations
For a recently transitioning Servicemember, your company may be the first civilian employer they’ve ever had. Veterans may need some help learning to navigate the civilian workforce. Some suggestions for onboarding Veteran employees include:
- Clearly state expectations, like dress codes, for example, in the welcome letter.
- Have a tangible onboarding plan with check-ins for feedback and goals for the first 90 days.
- Help build a social network within the team. For example, plan a lunch or coffee break for everyone to get to know each other or have the team answer an ice-breaker question at the beginning of meetings.
4. Training and skills support
Like hiring any candidate, a former military member joining your team will likely have stronger and weaker areas related to the position. Your organization can develop training programs to help Veteran employees close knowledge gaps and gain confidence in their abilities. For example, our partner Underwriters Laboratories provides programs to help Veterans build their skills for future promotions and leadership opportunities.
5. Veteran resource groups and mentorship
Veteran-friendly companies often have Veteran resource groups or mentorship programs to help Veterans make connections and adapt to the civilian company culture. Our partners at Accenture, Motorola Solutions, and Echo, have such programs available.
6. Clear career advancement pathways
While in the military, Servicemembers know where their orders will come from and what is required to rise in the ranks. After their Service, some Veterans find the civilian workforce culture confusing. Providing a clear, written-out pathway for promotions during onboarding and scheduling frequent career advancement check-ins could help assuage some of these transitional frustrations.
Our partner Sprout Social has taken this idea one step further by including a 1-year growth timeline on every job description.
7. Support non-profit Veterans’ organizations
One of the best ways to show Veterans that your organization supports them is to partner with non-profit Veteran organizations. Offer an employer match to donations for Veterans organizations, give your employees paid volunteering opportunities, or do both like our partners Enova, DRW, and Wayfair.
A partnership can reaffirm your commitment to Veteran employees and also give your civilian employees more opportunities to interact with Veterans and build their awareness of Veterans’ issues.
If you’re interested in hiring Veterans for paid tech apprenticeships or full-time positions or offering a Veteran-focused volunteer opportunity for your employees, consider joining our corporate partners. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our corporate partners page for more information.
Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed from previous positions in higher education and educational technology. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.