The men and women who serve in the armed forces willingly give up years of their lives and put themselves at risk protecting the rest of us. As difficult as it may be to spend time away from their loved ones in some of the most dangerous places in the world, their challenges often don’t end there. Even after returning home, veterans can experience some serious difficulties adapting to civilian life.
The Challenges They Face
In particular, those who return from military service can find it challenging to get back into the workforce. This can be for a variety of reasons. Servicemen and women may have a hard time adjusting to the less-regimented nature of everyday life.
They could have trouble understanding how to market the skills they learned during their service, or they might lack the resources to network as successfully as other job candidates. Despite these issues, veterans have a lot to offer the business world. This is why numerous companies and HR professionals take steps to help them find employment once they return home.
If you’re among those helping, or want to be, here are some ideas you can put into practice to support and develop veteran employees.
How To Help Veterans Return To Work
Offer Mentoring Programs
In the military, servicemen and women depend on one another to perform specific tasks. Their actions mesh to accomplish a common goal; the same is true in the workplace. Generally, though, civilians have more latitude to choose how they will complete their work.
This means someone used to a stricter environment may have trouble changing his or her mindset. A mentoring program can be extremely helpful in this scenario. By partnering with someone who has more experience in a particular field, veterans can ask questions and receive guidance.
This makes it easier for them to transition into civilian life because they don’t have to feel self-conscious about their struggles. Having someone who knows the ropes to show them the way is useful not only for employees who served in the armed forces, but for everyone in the organization.
Recognize Leadership Styles
In the military, there are detailed rules for how enlisted men and women are supposed to relate to their commanding officers. At home, however, the lines can be much blurrier. Management styles can be more informal which can be confusing for those used to a rigid type of leadership.
HR representatives and managers can help mitigate this scenario by recognizing the differences and being aware of how their veteran co-workers might struggle with them. Helping veterans understand what the chain of command looks like when it may not be so obvious is one way to help. Another helpful idea is to remember that such employees might appreciate clear, concise directions as opposed to simply giving them a vague sense of what they need to accomplish.
Look for Applicable Skills
When considering job candidates, many organizations might overlook veterans. This is because they may not be as effective at demonstrating how the skills they learned in the military translate into a different context.
This means it is crucial for HR representatives to be on the lookout for applicable skillsets — especially those related to computers, engineering and other fields in which they may have been trained during their time serving our country. Recruiters also should be prepared to ask follow-up questions if they see any relevant experience on an applicant’s resume.
Our nation’s veterans give up a lot for the rest of us. This means we should be prepared to give back to them. Understanding how tough it can be for those re-entering the workforce after serving is a crucial component of this for employers and HR representatives. Consider these points when recruiting, and your organization will become a much more welcoming place for those who have sacrificed so much.
Author bio: Veteran Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of veterans. The organization partners with a number of well-known veteran charities to help provide essential medical care, mental health services and more.