After serving our country many veterans come back to civilian life with very strenuous challenges…one of which is finding high quality jobs. Military veterans tend to face higher unemployment rates (9.9% in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), higher rates of job-impacting disabilities, and difficulty translating their skills in the armed forces into private citizen jobs.
At the same time it is becoming ever increasingly difficult for small businesses to hire quality employees, especially for leadership positions. Why not connect the two? Benefit your company while doing your part to create opportunities for a veteran.
In a recent Fortune article, “3 Reasons Companies Don’t Hire Veterans” the author points out the primary reasons are negative stereotypes, mismatched skills and fear of future deployments. With my experience as a small business consultant I would have to say that the small business reluctance that I see most is “mismatched skills”, and with a few tweaks small businesses may be able to tap into great talent by recruiting veterans.
Non-profit organizations like HireHeroesusa.org help small businesses see the value in hiring veterans. Great leadership skills, ethics and character, teamwork, agility to new things, “get it done” attitude, and a host of other desired characteristics are some of the solid skills that our military fosters in its people. My recommendation is to leverage the good, and minimize the challenges.
Systems – If there is one thing the military really shines at, it is executing systems with “military precision”. Veterans may be the perfect managers to step in and follow your systems to a “T”. However, avoid bumps in the road and realize they may not have the same level of skill in developing the systems or working in an environment without them. Get some solid systems in place prior to hiring and you may gain the most efficient business you can imagine.
Leadership – Successful business must be lead by strong leaders who people want to follow. Developing leaders is something that the military does very well. I am not suggesting that you hire a Bootcamp style drill sergeant for your teams, but with some direction on your companies vision and company culture someone with years of experience of leading large teams is sure to have some leadership skills to rally your troops to great service.
“Get it Done Attitude” – Your business can use someone who does not let any barrier get in the way of getting the job done. That kind of results oriented thinking is an asset to any business.
Tax Credit – If you think maybe it will take more training to transfer military skills into business building skills, don’t worry the government has thought of that. The US government is offering $2,400 – $9,600 tax credits for small businesses who hire veterans depending on their eligibility. I like to call these kinds of tax credits “tax rebates” because this is not a simple deduction reducing the revenue on your taxes, this is the government giving you money…so a $9,600 credit is $9,600 in your pocket. So, if you have spend a little extra time systematizing your business , or mentoring your new leader, all while doing your part to offer a veteran an opportunity, it seems to be a square deal.