Saturday, April 18, 2015

Creating An Inclusive, Veteran-Friendly Work Environment


Many corporations and organizations have been doing their best to provide equal job opportunities for veterans; in fact, based on the latest employment situation report for March, the unemployment rate for veterans went down to 4.9 % from 5.3 % in February 2015.

While there is still much to be done to give or create more jobs for veterans, the challenge also lies for those already in the workforce. Cultural differences between military-trained personnel and civilians in the workforce are among the biggest sources of obstacles for both transitioning veterans and their civilian employers.

Thus, it is important for employers to create an inclusive, veteran-friendly work environment. According to an article recently published by The US News.com, employers need to be sensitive to the toughest aspects of transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. By simply being sensitive to this transition, managers can help their veteran employees, as well as the team and company, be successful. The article lists 4 tips:
  • Dismiss stereotypes. Veterenas do have a diversity of experiences and they served in different branches of the military; thus stereotyping does not make sense and is risky. For example, not all military veterans suffer or are suffering from PTSD.
  • Explain context and culture. As the work context and culture in the military and civilian worlds differ vastly, there is a need for employers to anticipate cultural differences, and be able to explain the “nuances” of work in the civilian corporate mileau. It is suggested that a “learning buddy” be assigned to a veteran to support his/her transition. Also an open line of communication is helpful for the new hires to acknowledge there may be some adjustments for both sides.
  • Don’t misinterpret the loyalty of veterans. According to the article, veterans have the capability and capacity to be loyal by being in the military, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be loyal to you if you don’t treat them well,”
  • Be a leader. - Veterans are used to military leaders who “serve to take care of their people and accomplish their mission, so civilian supervisors and managers really need to raise their game.”
The article, “Creating the Right Environment to Support our Veterans” says companies' efforts to provide veterans jobs should not stop at hiring, but to put into place the infrastructure to support the successful transition of veterans into the mainstream workforce. To create this infrastructure, we must first understand that while we use the term “veterans” generically to describe anyone who has served in a branch of the military, there are actually two distinct veteran populations that we need to focus on:
  1. Those individuals who were already in work environments, were called up for active duty, and are now attempting to return to the work place; and
  2. Career military individuals who have never worked in corporate environments - Read more here
DiversityWorking.com, the largest job board online, is a career opportunity resource and job search engine for the cultural diversity marketplace. Through DiversityWorking.com, you can hire highly qualified veterans for your diversity and equal opportunity employment needs. Visit DiversityWorking.com now.



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