If You Build It, They Will Come: Top Ten Elements of an Effective Veteran Hiring Program Part 3: Veteran Resource Groups
Knowing how to retain veteran employees is just as vital as knowing how to hire them, and veteran resource groups can help. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help increase employee engagement, develop leaders, and expand marketplace reach. Veteran resource groups (VRGs) are a type of ERG devoted to helping veterans connect with one another within an organization.
It’s estimated that more than half of the companies with formal veteran hiring programs also provide support programs specifically for their veteran employees. These groups foster a sense of belonging and offer an opportunity to re-create the connections and camaraderie that many veterans cite as the highlight of their military service.
If a veteran joined the military immediately after high school, he or she may never have held a job in Corporate America, and transitioning from military service to a civilian role comes with unique challenges. VRGs can help veterans feel more comfortable during their first few months in a new job, which is a critical time for any new hire.
Studies show that employee resource groups are good for business, according to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). In many instances, VRGs keep organizational leaders up-to-date with issues that are important to veterans.
Positive word-of-mouth is a priceless tool, and a strong VRG can serve as a solid demonstration of an organization’s values and brand. It’s also a worthy recruiting tool. A veteran employee who is having a positive experience at an organization will likely tell his or her friends.
Veterans are accustomed to being part of a team, and a resource group of other veterans with similar backgrounds and shared experiences can replicate the sense of belonging experienced in the military. Together, these elements help build loyalty among colleagues, but also a sense of loyalty to your organization.
Where to Start?
Veteran resource groups can take many shapes and forms and developing one doesn’t have to be expensive or excessively formal. Start with the four cornerstone elements of a veterans’ resource group:
• A safe place to exchange information and ask questions. This can take place via formal meetings, or virtually through software such as Microsoft Teams
• A mentoring program
• A chance to network with other veterans
• Opportunities for veteran employees, as well as military spouses and families to volunteer and get involved in the community
A veteran resource group can help newly-hired veterans adjust to a different work environment, while also providing tools that will help them grow professionally, foster loyalty, share experiences, and become better leaders. Building a VRG into any veteran hiring program will engender a stronger, more resilient organization overall.
Up next: Creating specific, military-focused marketing materials.
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