Our veterans work hard and, in some cases, put their lives and safety in danger to keep our country safe. Unfortunately, returning to the working world from active duty can lead to a tremendous amount of stress both medical and emotional for veterans, and many can have difficulty finding work after their service.
This Veterans Day provides the perfect opportunity for small-business owners to familiarize themselves with the challenges some veterans may face trying to find work. It may also be wise to consult with HR services to determine how to best accommodate those wishing to return to the workforce.
Understand the background
One thing that it's important for employers to keep in mind when it comes to recruiting and hiring veterans is that their active military background may have exposed them to experiences that companies need to be sensitive to. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, around 38,000 veterans return from active duty having experienced major physical injury, often resulting in disability. Additionally, the source noted that around 20 percent – roughly 300,000 – veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently living with clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and around 60,000 have sustained what is known as a traumatic brain injury resulting from their time abroad.
Unfortunately, the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 46 percent of employers surveyed indicated that mental health issues such as PTSD represented major hiring challenges. However, overcoming conventional stigmas associated with mental health issues – especially those sustained in the line of duty – is a crucial step to helping veterans reintegrate.
Be aware of the value of veterans
Despite any history of disability or trauma, employers should be aware of the unique skills and attributes that can make returning veterans valuable additions to their teams. The DOL highlighted some of the important soft skills displayed by these individuals, such as dedication, heightened multitasking ability, good performance under pressure and a typically accelerated learning curve.
On top of that, SHRM suggested that employers gear their interviews with veterans to let the candidates establish the unique skills they possess that may not otherwise be able to come out. One such example the source noted was for interviewers to familiarize themselves with the Military Occupational Skills metric as a means to enable applicants to highlight their skill strengths in terms with which they're familiar.