Tips for Successfully Onboarding Veterans

It’s easy to say, “Thank you for your service,” to a U.S. veteran. But we think companies should go much further and make it a priority to hire men and women who have contributed their time during military service. These candidates learn very unique skills during their time in the military and come out as leaders with concrete technical skills that you can apply in your business. But the transition back to civilian life is sometimes hard for military veterans. We have some tips that can help you after hiring and during the onboarding process.

Onboarding Tips for Your Former Military Employee

Veterans come to your company with some combination of real-world experience, training, and academic education. Establishing a flexible onboarding program that recognizes these unique experiences and uses them to your advantage. For example:

  • Recognize and take advantage of military real-life experiences. A new hire, even if they’re young, may have been called upon to lead a team in very stressful situations. How they do that in the military is different in a collaborative team environment at the office. Recognize these differences and work to help with the transition.
  • Setting clear expectations is important for all employees, but especially for veterans. These employees are used to military structure and discipline. That’s a great benefit for you because they know how to get things done. At the same time, your department managers will need to step up their game to be sure the new employee understands the rules and what’s required.
  • Provide feedback clearly and concisely. This should happen with all of your employees. Share transparently what the employee can improve upon and what worked well so that they can continually improve their behaviors on the job.
  • Offer training. Again, this should happen with all of your employees. But be aware of what skills the veteran will need to transition into the workforce. What can you do to make sure the new employee will succeed in your business?
  • Offer support. Veterans are used to owning their mistakes, internalizing them, and pushing themselves hard. You probably won’t see them humbling themselves and asking for help even if they should. Train your managers to get to know their teams one-on-one and then provide them with the support they need to succeed and feel good about their work.
  • There is no one size fits all for any employee. Are you tailoring your support and training in a way that maximizes what the employee knows and shores up their skills in areas where they’re weakest? If your orientation doesn’t include discussion about where the employee sees themself in the future in your company, you’re doing them a disservice. Once you know where they want to go and how they want to work their way up the ladder, your job is to provide them with the support they need to get there. That’s how you’ll increase engagement, build loyalty, and retain both your veteran and civilian employees longer.

Blackstone Talent Group works to pair veterans with the best jobs in business and industry. For companies seeking top former-military talent, we have the best network of ready-to-work teams standing by to help you succeed. Contact us to find out more.

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