We often think of Veteran’s Day as just another day to thank our service members. But have you stopped to think about the ways we can thank veteran’s in the workplace? According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “21 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over, are veterans. That is roughly 1 in 10” (BLS, 2019). There are so many initiatives to hire veterans in to the workforce, so why exactly do veterans struggle finding employment? Well, it is tough for employers who have no military background or experience translate military experience in to civilian experience. Thus, when either the employer or the veteran is unclear of how to translate this experience, employers often move on to the next candidate.
Another issue that many veterans face when trying to gain employment post separation/retirement is stereotyping mental illnesses. Many veterans have experienced traumatic events and may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Human resource professionals or employers may end up assuming that all veterans have PTSD and are therefore a liability to hire. Yet, many veterans have access to medical care that can aid in treating PTSD if indeed they have it, in order to keep it under control. SO how exactly can employers make their work environments more veteran friendly?
Employers can begin by getting rid of stereotyping and instead become educated and familiar with military lingo in order to translate military experience in to civilian experience. In addition, employers can set forth expectations of a job and clarify what the organizations mission, vision, and values are in order to find common ground with veterans. Lastly, employers should consider mentoring veterans if hiring in order to help them adjust to a civilian workforce and excel at their job.