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Toolkit helps employers hire military veterans

Many employers are more than willing to hire military veterans. But many concede that they do not know all they need to know to effectively find and hire them.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has published a toolkit that can help companies learn what they need to know to make their hiring practices military friendly. The toolkit, Support from Behind the Lines: 10 Steps to Becoming a Military-Ready Employer, written by Sherrill Curtis, SPHR, principal and creative director for Curtis Consulting Group, a New Jersey-based HR consulting practice, guides HR professionals and business leaders in how to source, assimilate and support military-connected talent -- veterans, National Guard, reservists and their supporting family members -- effectively in the workplace. It describes how to assess an organization’s culture and resources related to military-connected employees and how to develop initiatives that will fulfill the organization’s needs best.

“The transition from a military to a civilian career can be daunting,” writes Curtis. “Upon returning home, service members think primarily of reconnecting with their families and getting some much-needed rest as they try to acclimate to a ‘normal’ home-life routine.”

But she adds, “While service members transitioning out of the military may receive information during debriefings about potential job assistance and resources, there is no formal, mandatory career transition training program for all services.” Consequently, they typically sign papers and return home without training on how to take that next all-important step in their careers.

The toolkit outlines 10 steps employers can take to make their hiring practices military ready, the first of which are to understand the issues and challenges that this population faces and to build a business case for hiring these highly-skilled professionals. Curtis writes that programs with the continuing support of so-called executive “champions” are most  likely to gain traction, including gaining necessary time, talent, budget, equipment and space.

Other useful information detailed in the toolkit includes:

• Information on tax incentives available for hiring veterans;

• Tips on understanding military ranks, job titles and terminology;

• Advice on how to effectively interview veterans;

• Advice about on-boarding and assimilating veterans back into a civilian workplace; and

• Citations of successful employers, government and nonprofit resources and many other references for assistance.

“Remember that taking action, even if it may appear on the surface to be nominal, has great impact for those who directly as well as indirectly benefit. Though the intended purpose of sharing this information is to reach out to and engage military talent -- those who served abroad and at home -- the resulting strategies, flexibility and community that evolve from your actions serve to create a work environment that benefits all talent,” Curtis concludes.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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