Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide: 7 Key Takeaways from The Muster

If you’re looking to improve your company’s military recruiting program and didn’t make it to a joint convening of the Muster and Veteran Jobs Mission in Washington, D.C., here are a few things you should know.

JPMorgan, Starbucks and Schultz Family Foundation brought together more than 300 representatives from approximately 100 companies spanning all sectors. The mission? To discuss veteran and military spouse employment, retention and engagement, and collaborate on ideas to bridge gaps between existing needs and services. Because, while there are thousands of organizations serving the 21 million veterans in America, the efforts are often fragmented.

A few of us from Victory Media were fortunate to attend the event and join in on the conversations. Here are some important points for those of you who didn’t make it to Washington, D.C.

Improve Retention Rates Through a Holistic Approach

1. Think careers, not jobs. Companies need to create career paths, not just jobs, for veterans and military spouses. Look for the soft skills the job demands and be flexible to work with a veteran and see if their abilities would be better suited for another position. A great way to do this is through internship programs, which you can offer to service members as they are transitioning out of the military. This gives them the chance to explore different roles and see if your company is a good fit.

Lieutenant General Kenneth R. Dahl

Lieutenant General Kenneth R. Dahl

2. Hire the entire team – veterans and their spouses. Companies are missing out on high-quality talent when they fail to realize that military service members experience their lives as families. Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, said the majority of military spouses are working below their competency levels, which is hard for the family. Provide education and meaningful work opportunities to spouses to see your veteran retention rates climb.

“The very best thing you can give a transitioning veteran is a spouse with a job.” – Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families

When a spouse is happily employed, the service member has a chance to explore career options and choose and stick with a job that is in line with their skills and aspirations.

3. Provide comprehensive support. Having a veterans resource group isn’t enough, because it is not all-inclusive. Your military program should span your entire organization. For example, consider matching veteran employees with with long-term civilian expert mentors to help veterans navigate their new work environment.

4. Understand their mindset. It’s also important to understand the military perspective, as well as the training, attitudes and skills that these individuals bring. Replicate a veteran’s sense of purpose by publicizing your company’s values and purpose, and its culture. Give them a company whose mission, vision and culture they can feel good about joining.

Harness Veterans’ Strong Service Ethos

5. Partner with other organizations. Those who have served are uniquely qualified to give back. They volunteered their service, and they want to have a sense of purpose and community. One way you can attract and keep veterans in your organization is to show them that you know that our work is not done.

Partner with one of the thousands of organizations serving the 21 million Veterans in America. Here are just a few to consider: Veteran Jobs MissionThe Mission ContinuesTeam RWBTeam RubiconGot Your SixBuy VeteranBunker LabsSchultz Family FoundationBlue Star Families

Change the Military Narrative

6. See talent from the military for what it is – invaluable. Military veterans and military spouses make excellent employees and excel in leadership roles and jobs that require flexibility, teamwork and attention to detail. Employers cite many benefits from employing veterans, especially when it comes to dependability, work ethic, loyalty, integrity and cultural diversity. Your company should educate managers on the value that comes from hiring military. During the Muster we made a renewed commitment to change the national understanding of the value of our veterans and military spouses – check it out:

7. Stop thinking PTSD when you think veteran. PTSD can be a real issue, but the reality is most veterans who have it are getting the help they need and they are dealing with it. In fact, there isn’t a significant difference between the reported cases of PTS in civilians and veterans:

How will you better serve our veterans?

It takes a systematic approach, and we’re here to help. Victory Media offers solutions to help your company attract and retain veterans and their spouses. Interested in learning how your company can develop programs, build presence and drive response? Request more information today!

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