Each 11 November we observe Veterans Day, a national holiday honoring military service members and veterans who help protect our nation and personal freedoms. It's no secret that veterans make great employees?and not just in government jobs. We asked members of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to share their experiences and insights about hiring veterans as employees. Here's what they had to say.
Our military service members are a cut above. They risk their lives and sacrifice family togetherness to protect our freedoms. Military training results in skilled team players who execute tasks efficiently and effectively. They're polite, respectful, responsible and accountable. Delivering excellence is second-nature, even in the face of uncertainty, exhaustion or fear. And they achieve all of this with a work ethic that's off the charts. No wonder veterans are highly sought-after employees!
It's easy to draw parallels between the work world and the battlefield.
"Competition is tough. So is the military. An entrepreneur cannot succeed without a dedicated group behind them. Imagine if:
- Your company had the 'failure is not an option' drive of the Navy Seals.
- Each team member approached a client or sales call with the strategy and precision of a military operation.
- Your company culture demanded the 'service before self' and 'no man left behind' values of the Green Berets.
That's what 'Battlefield to Boardroom' leadership and veterans can bring to your organization." ? Victoria R. Bondoc, President, Gemini
"We founded our company specifically to hire veterans and service-disabled veterans. We learned that above all else, veterans returning from the battlefield want a good job where they can once again be a contributing member of a team." ? Jose M. Perez, President/Founder, Frontline Support Solutions, LLC
You can't be certain that every employee will be a team player, but when hiring veterans, it's a safe bet that they've been trained to work together as a cohesive unit that performs specific tasks, always depending on their teammates.
"We love hiring veterans because they exhibit discipline, integrity and respect for everyone on the team. Plus, they have a strong desire to row toward achieving a common goal." ? Vlad Molchadski, CEO, BizTraffic
"Service members undergo a regimented process of assimilation where each person must support the next in a manner that could have life-changing consequences if one fails. The biggest benefit of hiring veterans has been the ability to build teams more quickly. In our experience, a good mix of veterans and non-veterans has been a boon for our company." ? Jose M. Perez
"The veterans leading our operations, sales and project management teams embody a strong work ethic. Their military experience becomes a positive influence in their own professional lives and that of others. Given their exposure to different cultures and languages, they quickly build rapport with people and thus excel in client-facing and vendor management roles. In difficult situations, our veteran hires exhibit the most composed and creative workarounds." ? Rishi Khanna, Founder and CEO, ISHIR
The transition from the battlefield to business isn't without potential obstacles. However, compassionate employers need only be alert and aware to turn them into opportunities for success.
"There is one issue I want to address with the entrepreneurial community: Some employers are leery of hiring veterans because they falsely believe that combat veterans are 'highly likely' to suffer from PTSD. That is a patently false assumption. In seven years of hiring returning warriors, only one veteran has left our team due to PTSD-related issues?and he sought help from the VA on his own accord. Ultimately, the horrors of combat cannot be forgotten, but when hiring self-aware individuals, there is no reason why they cannot be productive members of your team." ? Jose M. Perez
"Depending on their specific 'front-line experience,' veterans post-theatre can face personal challenges including PTSD, hearing loss, physical challenges or road rage. Life as they knew it will never be the same. Of several military personnel who've worked for me over 14 years, my 'star' veteran has been deployed twice during his time here and has grown into a respected leader in our organization. I am honored to call him my peer. It took me a couple of years to fully understand the transition of a veteran into the workforce, but I can honestly say it is well worth it!" ? Judith Briggs, Owner, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Boston
"We have noticed that a veteran's job while in service is important in establishing their professional goals. Those who served in leadership roles are often excellent leaders, and those who were not in leadership roles often thrive on structure and guidance." ? Vlad Molchadski
If you want a job done right, hire the best. With lives on the line, military service members are trained to achieve the task at hand with excellence. High-level execution is a transferrable asset in the professional realm.
"Our organization employs over 100 salespeople; our 11 veterans are some of the top producers. We find that they are successful because they are very regimented in their daily activities and follow directions to a 'T'!" ? Bradley W. Smith, Founder/Co-CEO, Rescue One Financial
"In our experience, veterans are very loyal, and treat your business as though it were their own. They exhibit personal responsibility for getting the job done and take immense pride in a job well done." ? Judith Briggs
"Our service members make ideal role models for leadership, bravery, strategic thinking, fearlessness, focus, discipline, commitment and a can-do attitude. The training and aptitude that veterans acquire during their service are absolutely invaluable for any work culture. On Veterans Day, I wish to express my appreciation to each veteran for serving our country with absolute sincerity, sacrifice and honesty." ? Rishi Khanna