Congratulations on taking the first step toward creating (or enhancing) your Veterans hiring initiative! The steps in this section are a few of the basic elements to help you begin your planning.
Consider your organization's overall mission and decide how strategically incorporating this population of jobseekers fits best into your global recruitment efforts. Though some employers may be looking to hire Veterans due to a sense of patriotism, most are seeking out this community of job seekers because of pure return on investment. Veterans and returning Service Members bring unique skills and experiences to the civilian workforce. Because of the training, work ethic and goal-oriented culture of the military, many companies report that Veterans not only make excellent employees, but also tend to have a higher rate of retention. There are many reasons why companies are seeking out Veterans - the most important being that they bring with them the skills to do the job, in a timely and efficient manner. These skills include both the hard and soft skills coveted by today's employers, such as leadership, management, teamwork, accountability and responsibility.
Read the "Top Ten" reasons to hire Veterans and wounded warriors.
While Veterans and transitioning Service Members tend to have a similar set of non-tangible skills, each is an individual and should not be "pigeonholed" into a position or career pathway simply because of their military service. A post-military career path has as much to do with training skill sets as it does with personality, interests and individual goals. Though some sources have attempted to identify the top civilian jobs for transitioning Service Members and Veterans (see Online-Education.net's "Top Ten" and Money Magazine's "Top 20"), it is important to consider there are many industries not identified in which Service Members can apply their knowledge and skills. For example: medics with strong communications skills may target a position in public relations for a hospital or pharmaceutical company, a civil affairs specialist who enjoyed learning about new places and cultures may be an excellent high school history teacher, or a truck driver who picked up a photography hobby while deployed may seek employment with a travel magazine or as a documentarian.
Did you know your company could save up to $4,800 per Veteran hire? Many employers know there are tax incentives associated with hiring Veterans but don't take advantage of them because they mistakenly believe the paperwork isn't worth the effort. In actuality, the laws are straight forward and the forms relatively easy. The primary tax credit is called the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), IRS Form 5884. Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides tax incentives for the hiring of any Veteran (not just for disabled Veterans or those with service-connected disabilities).
For more information WOTC tax credits, contact your State's WOTC Coordinator.
An excellent resource for learning about these tax incentives can be found on The Sierra Group Foundation's Website, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Clear and concise information for both federal and state tax incentives is available. Simply choose "Federal Incentives" or "State Incentives" from the navigation menus on the top or left hand side of the main page.
A basic planning template will get you thinking about the steps necessary to begin thinking about a Veterans hiring initiative. You might consider convening a team to help brainstorm, put thoughts and ideas on paper, identify needs and potential partners, note what is already in place and list questions. You may wish to meet monthly to ensure that action items are addressed in a timely manner.
A guide called "Workplace Warrior: The Corporate Response to Deployment and Reintegration" identifies the challenges returning employees face and strategies and resources employers can use to support them. It was co-authored by the Workplace Warrior Think Tank, convened by the non-profit Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and three disability insurers. For more information, read the guide's Executive Summary or the full report.