Military personnel develop many skills that naturally fit in a workplace, including a strong work ethic, respect for authority, ability to adapt to change, teamwork, mission focus, punctuality and discipline. The clinical team at employee assistance provider ACI Specialty Benefits, creators of the Veteran-Connection website, offer four suggestions to benefits and hiring managers so they can better connect with this segment of the workforce.
Define the mission
Service members understand their specific duties that will help achieve the mission of their unit. A clearly-defined duty description and organizational mission statement allow veterans to continue working in the best interest of the business, even without much other direction. When bringing a veteran on board, outline his or her duties and review them together.
Be upfront and clear when communicating with a veteran. Be straightforward with directives and feedback. Avoid ambiguous communication and subtle, indirect corrections. If there is a problem, state what was done incorrectly and what adjustments need to be done. When planning a team project, designate a leader or chairman to head the group. This facilitates accountability and also provides a go-to person at the next level of responsibility or management.
In the military, there is a regulation for everything, and regulation standards are clearly defined. It may seem rather mechanical in the civilian workforce, but it is lifesaving in the military. Be clear regarding policies, procedures and standards, ranging from company dress policy to production quotas. Veterans appreciate when standards are followed, enforced and do not change haphazardly. Also, be aware of time frames given to veterans for completing tasks. Veterans often complete tasks with a sense of urgency and will work until it is done, regardless of what are considered normal working hours.
Service members are evaluated periodically on their performance in relation to their duty description, leadership and unit mission. When providing evaluations, review specific accomplishments, strengths, and areas of improvement for potential growth. The military operates through a well-defined chain of command, but business organizations do not always have the same hierarchy. Provide the veteran with a written organizational structure and review it for understanding.