Inclusivity Tips for Onboarding & Retaining Veteran Hires

Nearly a quarter million members of the military transition into the workforce annually. These veterans are armed with elite training and experience, but employers don't always understand their skills. Luckily, organizations like RecruitMilitary offer services and work with partners to solve that problem.

In addition to learning military skillsets, employers can improve inclusivity and boost first-year retention by making small adjustments to the onboarding process. Use these tips to build a solid start for veterans joining your workforce.  

###Design Goal-Oriented Steps###

Checklists are a phenomenal tool to use in the onboarding process because every military branch employs them daily. Micro-managing that checklist will usually be unnecessary. Instead, provide a basic framework and offer flexibility.

###Provide Access to Resources and Training###

In nearly every job in the military, veterans are expected to self-train. But if they don’t know who to ask or where to go to it can be difficult for them to get up to speed.

By providing 30/60/90 plans, measurable benchmarks, flexibility to accomplish those tasks, and access to resources and personnel, your veteran hires will often require less supervision than other employees. And they may even embrace the self-training element of your culture in a way that might surprise you.

###Instill a Healthy Pace###

Many veterans will show up to their new job with the goal to impress and get up to speed quickly. They may be acutely aware of their “newness” to the industry and may not have direct experience. Although veterans are motivated self-starters, it’s important to check in and make sure they don’t suffer from early burnout.

Reinforce incremental steps and show them where their activities and actions have actually driven desirable outcomes.

Virtually every military training exercise or real-world exercise is followed by a post-exercise debrief to identify key areas to sustain or improve. This is the kind of leadership style that veterans tend to appreciate.

###Expect Leadership in Varying Styles###

Most veterans who have served at least three years have led some kind of team. That leadership acumen may not be part of your job description, but nevertheless, military veterans have it. Leave room for them to demonstrate it.

###Give Feedback###

In the military, service members are accustomed to receiving blunt, honest feedback about every aspect of their performance.

Civilian workplace culture is often vastly different and often leaves room for someone to question their performance and sense of direction. As mentioned earlier building 30/60/90 plans, measurable benchmarks, flexibility to accomplish those tasks, and access to the appropriate resources will help veterans feel supported in the process.

###Tailor the Tasks###

Make sure your onboarding process has room to meet needs of the individuals rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Some performers may need more specific steps over a set of goals and encouragement. As a general rule, when your employees thrive, your organization will as well.

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