November 11 is the official day to recognize veterans for their service and sacrifice to our country. According to the most recent U.S. Census, more than 17.4 million veterans comprise about 6% of the U.S. workforce, with top employers in the government and manufacturing sectors. Veterans are a diverse population who often have experience with various cultural backgrounds, a key characteristic that supports DE&I initiatives and can fill an organization’s job skills gap.
Here are three key attributes that veterans bring to the workplace:
During unit training, soldiers handle challenging tasks by implementing a methodology of problem definition, solution development, and solution implementation. While seemingly simplistic, honing this three-step process develops a transferable skill that gives veterans a unique workforce advantage.
Another competitive edge many veteran employees bring to the workplace is strong leadership capabilities, as evidenced by the 8% of all CEOs in the S&P 500 who previously served as military officers. By operating in a highly hierarchical atmosphere, they learn how to inspire performance in others by being a role model and effectively using delegation, follow-through, goal-setting, and discipline.
Camaraderie is highly valued and reinforced in the military. Shared training experiences and deployment experiences strongly influence veterans’ sense of loyalty and duty. The military teaches collaboration and reliance on the team are critical to success. All these factors make for a natural transition into private sector careers where teamwork, shared accountability, and trust are key requirements.
Employers should become more skilled at diving into veterans’ experiences to better understand their skills and abilities. Veterans often possess a wealth of valuable knowledge. However, they may not effectively translate that knowledge into the language private sector professionals understand. Military experience can be a huge source of diversity for an organization. Employers need to find it and release the potential.
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