Several months ago we posted a story online about the advisability of hiring military veterans. The response from those both inside and outside the industry was overwhelmingly positive. This is an issue that transcends personal politics, with folks across the political spectrum responding positively to the story. And we like to believe that some good came of it. With that in mind, it might good to revisit the issue in more depth.
Few people would dispute that the men and women who have served our country deserve a better-than-fair break when it comes to employment. However, this idea can also be a bit misleading. If viewed incorrectly, it can seem as if hiring a vet is a charitable undertaking. Hiring a vet is simply good business of the most pragmatic and bottom line variety. Young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (and even those who served in Desert Storm or Vietnam) have not only proven their patriotism, they tend to be motivated and reliable employees.
Over the past several months we've had the opportunity to meet service personnel returning from active duty, and I can say without hesitation that they really are among the best America has to offer. The servicemen and women I met possess a maturity and motivation rare among today's 20-somethings. In speaking with these young folks, it became obvious they are anxious to get on with their lives and careers. Assuming the military personnel I met are typical of our returning troops, any company with an eye to the future would be lucky to have them.
What's more, many of these young men and women come equipped with skill sets that are easily transferable to the private sector. These can range from basic organizational skills to technical expertise. In speaking with a few people in the industry on the subject, I've gotten the impression that training a veteran for a job is very often less time-consuming and costly than training other employees. It is fair to say they also have a firm grasp on the value of teamwork.
Now, here's a modest proposal. With our nation's young vets returning to a less-than-booming economy, I suggest that those in a position to hire, whether they are company owners or human resources directors, go the extra mile when it comes to these young men and women. I would strongly urge them to not only keep them in mind for any job openings at their own companies, but take the initiative to pick up the phone and make the call if they know of an available position at another firm. The call may be to a supplier, manufacturer or even to a competitor.
Making a phone call to help a young person entering the job market has been a longheld tradition among everyone, from Wall Street titans to media barons. Many of the young folks returning from active duty don't have the same kinds of contacts others their age might. What better way to welcome our veterans home than to offer them a hand transitioning back into civilian life?