Finding the Best “Who” for Your Organization Means Hiring Vets

It’s no secret that employers across the globe are facing the most acute talent shortage since the Great Recession. Nearly half of U.S. employers reported difficulties filling jobs due to lack of available talent compared to 32 percent in 2015, as reported in ManpowerGroup's latest Talent Shortage Survey. Furthermore, for the fifth consecutive year skilled trades positions remain the hardest to fill across all 42 countries surveyed.

This skills gap is compounded by the fact that in today’s marketplace, you are who you hire. According to The Economist, unsuccessful hiring is the “the single biggest problem in business today.” This puts recruiters and hiring managers into the pressure cooker to find talent that meets many requirements. As one recruiter put it, “It’s hard enough to find the right skill set, much less the person who is the best fit for the position.”

Co-authors Geoff Smart and Randy Street, in their book titled “Who,” posit that the who is far more important than the strategies, products, and services that comprise the what. “Who refers to the people you put in place to make the what decisions. Who is running your sales force? Who is assembling your products? Who is occupying the corner office?” they ask.

Hiring veterans delivers a one-two punch: it solves the problem of searching for the right talent, and gives a competitive advantage to the organization. In bringing veterans into their workplace, companies gain loyal employees adept at teamwork; meeting deadlines; the ability to follow and complete instructions; and giving orders.

And when it comes to problem-solving and facing challenges, veterans jump right in and find solutions. The culture and structure they come from trained them to accomplish their mission on time and within budget. As one veteran stated, “I built a bridge in a heavy combat zone: I’m used to challenges.”
Another stated, “When something happens you evaluate the situation, create a plan of action, and execute the plan. Then you re-evaluate, establish a new plan, and execute that one.”

“Veterans are positive, disciplined, committed, and do well with process orientation,” noted one hiring manager who works in the insurance industry. “They have already answered a lot of big questions for us just by having served in the military. Veterans already come to the table with those abilities.”

He recalled an Army advertising slogan stating, “'We do more before 9:00 a.m. than most people do all day.'” Veterans understand that, and it’s ingrained in them,” he said.