Why You Should Hire Veterans: Reasons to Employ Vets and How to Find Them

Chelsy Meyer  | 

Despite the many skills our U.S. veterans have, and the sacrifices they have made as military members, there are still a number of veterans seeking employment. There are many benefits to hiring military veterans and reservists, as well as ways to effectively manage them in a work setting. For those looking to employ more former (or reservist) military members, there are resources and organizations aimed to help employers find veterans to hire.

Benefits of Employing Veterans

As an employer, you want a certain type of person to work for you. When getting through the hiring process you don’t just want someone who is qualified, you want someone who is a good fit within your company culture and who will go above and beyond. The benefits to employing military veterans include many of the characteristics that employers seek out in the hiring process.

Strong Leadership Skills

The military is a great place to learn and hone these skills. Military members are shown leadership through their higher ranking officers and are taught to learn by example. There is extensive training, and they encourage members to strive for higher ranks by displaying strong leadership skills. This is a valuable asset in an employee who can take these leadership skills and use them to lead their teammates and show initiative.

An Ingrained Respect for Authority

Employers don’t want to hire employees who are afraid to speak up in the presence of authority, or employees who disrespectfully challenge authority. Veterans and reservists have this ingrained respect that drives the entire military machine. As employees, military members translate that respect for authority into their civilian jobs. This makes for an employee who understands what it means to follow the rules and wishes outlined by their bosses.

Teamwork Mentality

The entire culture of the military is based on a sense of teamwork and togetherness. Veterans are amazing at working as a team and helping those around them to create a stronger unit. The bigger picture of achievement has to be the priority for many businesses and the military teaches it’s members how to achieve success for all without sacrificing personal success. Instead of separating the two, the military teaches that a team’s success is each person’s personal success and that is a vital lesson to learn for any prospective employee.

A Sense of Pride in Accomplishment

Those who have served in our military have a sense of pride in their country, their job, and their objective in that role. They are rewarded for accomplishment and effort and will be able to translate those skills into other work opportunities. Hiring a veteran is hiring someone who comes to work to do their best and take pride in what they do and who they do it for.

An Understanding of Hard Work

Hard work means something a little different to everyone, but employers looking for employees to give their job their all will find that in a military employee. Military training is all about pushing recruits to do their best despite any odds. They see opportunity for improvement in all areas and are never satisfied with doing the minimum. Veterans know hard work in a way that others might not fully understand and that makes for a dedicated and hardworking employee.

Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans

In order to further incentivize businesses to hire military employees, there are several tax credits available in exchange for hiring veterans. Though the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) may lean towards the rights of the employee and not the employer (and therefore may inadvertently push employers away from hiring vets), the truth is that they are highly qualified workers that come with the added benefit of a tax credit.

How to Get the Most Out of Military Veteran Employees

Military veterans come from an environment of strict hierarchy, accountability, and feedback, so they depend on a more structured work environment and management style. Getting the most out of your veteran employees involves understanding the resources they need in order to be the most effective employees they can be.

Be Transparent

Transparency is key in effectively leading your military veteran and reservist employees. The military doesn’t sugarcoat or assume anything so they are used to receiving transparent instructions, clear needs, and an honest management style. Some employees may do better with instruction that highlights their strengths, veteran employees just need black and white direction with a transparent view of their skills and weaknesses.

Set Goals

Veteran employees do best when they fully understand the goals they are meant to attain. In a military environment, goals are clear and how to get them is direct. Providing them with structure will play to their ultimate strengths and lead them on a path to success. Many employees do great with clear goals set, but it’s important to note how much more structured a military employee’s past has been compared to others.

Offer Feedback

A military member never has to wonder how they are doing or what they need to work on. Feedback is quick and honest with zero nonsense. You don’t have to bark feedback at them like a drill instructor, but know that they are used to receiving feedback in a very transparent way. Not knowing how they are doing might be stressful, so be sure to offer both positive and negative feedback as an employer.

Resources to Hire Veterans

Hiring veterans and reservists is more than just employees understanding their rights and employers understanding theirs, it’s also about getting veterans in the door and accommodating them upon hire. Veteran discrimination is a real thing and there are now laws created in order to protect veterans if they experience some type of prejudice due to their veteran status. There are plenty of resources created to help veterans get jobs, keep jobs, and avoid discrimination, but there are also resources to help employees find veterans to hire. There are also resources for employers seeking to be sure they are accommodating their veteran employees in the best possible way.

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs: The VA is basically a one-stop-shop for all things military and veteran. Calling your local VA can help point you in the right direction for the right local and national organizations to help you find veterans to hire.
  • National Center for PTSD: This part of the VA is to help veterans with PTSD, but also offers a slew of resources for employers hiring veterans living with PTSD and how to understand and support them in a work setting.
  • Department of Labor: The Department of Labor has information on disability, Federal Contract Compliance, grants, health, laws, etc. when hiring veterans.
  • America’s Heroes at Work: America’s Heroes at Work is designed for employers and the workforce development system, to help returning Service Members and Veterans living with TBI and/or PTSD succeed in the workplace.
  • Feds Hire Vets: This website is the preeminent source for Federal employment information for our veterans, transitioning service members, their families, Federal HR professionals and hiring managers.
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve: The (ESGR) is an agency that promotes understanding of the National Guard and Reserve in order to gain employer and community support.
  • VetJobs: VetJobs allows employers to advertise job postings to Veterans and allows Veterans to post their resumes for search by employers. It also offers a number of resources for Veterans and employers.
  • HireVeterans: Hire Veterans allows employers to advertise job postings to Veterans and allows Veterans to post their resumes for search by employers.
  • Northrop Grumman, Operation IMPACT: This site assists severely injured service members with the transition to civilian careers.
  • Project HIRED: Project HIRED supports disabled Veterans with career services, retraining, and wrap-around support services. It also supports employers of Veterans with disabilities by providing human resource support, management and staff training programs, and customized workshops and consultation services.

There are many reasons to employ veterans, largely because they already have many of the traits employers look for in hiring due to their military background. With teamwork in effective management techniques and understanding how to accommodate veteran or reservist employees, businesses everywhere can work to keep the veteran unemployment rates low. Where to find veterans is just as important as how to work with them once they are in the door. Hiring veterans is important and there are many resources in understanding their worth to a company and a company’s worth to them.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5

This post was updated March 29, 2018. It was originally published February 26, 2018.