Every Decision Matters
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Ford Motor Company manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents; its automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company has 66 plants and 194,000 employees worldwide. It provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Company headquarters are in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford sees a talent shortage in specific skill sets and is seeking, for example, powertrain engineers with electrification skills, software developers with engineering and manufacturing expertise, and automated-driving engineers. These positions require unique skill sets that draw heavily on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills.
The company’s founder, Henry Ford, started hiring veterans in 1919, long before most other companies recognized the value that veterans can bring to the work force. The company is currently experiencing its highest volume of hiring in over a decade, and looks to continue to hire veterans.
The company attracts veterans by attending career fairs, tailoring resources to veterans – e.g., a veteran portal on Ford’s career website – and leveraging its veteran-employee group in reaching out to referrals and participating as company representatives at recruiting events.
Ford values the knowledge and expertise that veterans gain during their time in the military. * Their experience provides them with great technical skills, and it instills leadership qualities that enable them to excel in just about every division of the company.
They have an accelerated learning curve – the ability to learn new skills and concepts.
They enter the workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real-world situations.
They are excellent leaders, trained to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation, and inspiration.
They also know the dynamics of leadership as part of both hierarchical and peer structures.
They understand how teamwork functions in supporting their colleagues while achieving the overarching corporate objective.
They have learned to work side-by-side with people who are diverse in race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, religion, and economic status as well as mental, physical, and attitudinal capabilities.
They understand tight schedules and limited resources; and how to accomplish priorities on time, in spite of tremendous stress.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | ERIN MEADOWS
Erin Meadows has served her country for 25 years. She is currently a master chief petty officer in the United States Navy Reserve, where she has experience as a paralegal and a recruiter. Her responsibilities include reviewing qualifications of paralegals and sailors who are interested in becoming Navy paralegals, ensuring that new paralegals receive proper training, and advising regional senior enlisted on new recruits. She was promoted to master chief in 2014.
Meadows joined Ford Motor Credit Company in 2001. As a senior paralegal, her responsibilities include ensuring that compliance-related reports are accurate and provided to senior management.
She knows what makes veterans stand out to civilian employers. “Most qualities instilled in military personnel are relatable in civilian life,” she said. “Ones that set veterans apart include promptness, dedication, accountability, and a can-do attitude.”
To those who may not know what they want to do post-military, she suggests her own specialty. “I encourage people to consider becoming paralegals,” she said. “It’s one of the few ratings for which completing schooling leads directly to the completion of a college degree in the related field of civilian work.”
Meadows believes that the military and civilian working worlds are not much different. “The basic skills expected of military personnel are essentially the same skills and abilities that civilian employers expect,” she said.
The military taught her never to underestimate herself. “The high standards, level of commitment, and adaptability I gained have served me well in civilian employment,” she said.
“Serving in the Navy has taught me to never underestimate my ability or that of a team, and to reinforce high expectations. These attitudes and characteristics set veterans and reservists apart in the workplace. Employee resource groups, such as Ford’s Veterans Network Group, enable veterans to share best practices and help each other and company management with respect to the value and importance of hiring veterans.”
The master chief said that servicemembers should take advantage of every opportunity before leaving the military. “Take advantage of traditional and non-traditional educational opportunities available in the military,” she said. “Each affords the chance of setting yourself apart from others competing for the same positions.”
Meadows encourages veterans to find a new career at Ford. “Go for it,” she said. “One of the qualities veterans possess is adaptability. In business, change is a constant. While change can be unsettling, veterans know they can and will get through it.
“As the economy struggled, so did many companies. Ford focused on getting back to the basics and supporting its key priorities. The company’s success demanded our full attention. That is like any day in the military. Every decision matters, the right thing must always be done, and we often had to do more with less. Everyone dedicated themselves to their assignments and stayed focused.”