More Fortune 500 companies, federal agencies, municipalities and other firms are beginning to take notice of certain unique traits that US military veterans exemplify from their civilian employee counterparts. These characteristics can lead them to thrive in their new environments and ultimately make them great role models, leaders and managers within an organization. Many employers deeply appreciate their acumen, work ethic, discipline and other intangible benefits that veterans personify (particularly combat exposed veterans.) The following list is just some of the character aspects that are transferrable to the civilian workplace and largely supports the business case for veteran hires.
The respect factor
The issue of respect is not a situation to be overlooked within the modern workplace environment. Military veterans are ingrained with a system that chiefly recognizes rank to designate positions of achievement. The award of rank is always earned with every military veteran (with no exceptions.) It is a profoundly revered symbol that summons the highest amounts of pride for ones accomplishments, dignity, respect and accountability.
This "pecking-order" of military-styled government is sternly defined and is harshly punishable for those that choose to defy it. This level of accountability often begins from 'day one' in boot camp and endures throughout the careers of military veterans. When a person of higher rank gives an "order," the order is absolute and not to be disobeyed for any reason. The order is without question for an inferior ranking person.
This system provides accountability for the person giving the order, as well as the person receiving it. All orders must be justified by the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is a separate form of the Constitution for military veterans (that all veterans honor to obey and defend.) The basis of the military depends on this authoritarianism type of structure and functionality.
How respect is considered in the civilian workplace
Receiving respect from a junior employee that is a military veteran, is completely different that of a civilian employee. With a military veteran it is part of the expectation. The military-styled system, results in a life-long and soundly structured way of addressing those that may out rank an individual - going all the way up to the President of the United States (who has supreme authority and is responsible to the US Congress.)
Respect is a rudimentary and fundamental aspect of addressing a person with the prefix of "Sir" or "Maam" for most military veterans. Unlike many civilians, they see addressing their superiors that outrank them in very casual regards as strange. Military veterans respect the chain of command and are always taught to obey rules, structures, protocols and procedures.
Military veterans are proven individuals
Military veterans are obliged and expected to defend the United State of America from all threats with their lives. They are often required to propel themselves in 'harms-way' for their country, regardless of their personal beliefs or safety. They are meticulously trained to expect and respond to eminent danger. They are trained to protect, save lives and generally don't panic in times of crisis.
High stress jobs
The impact of hiring a veteran can benefit a business in many ways. In particular, they are accustomed to handling crisis situations. Although, civilian employees (including those that come directly from college), may be trained to deal with some crisis situations, military veterans are generally individuals with proven real-life experiences, including acts of heroism in dangerous situations.
Many former military veterans are usually great fits for civilian jobs as: firefighters, police officers, doctors, pilots and emergency respondent types of occupations that require certain calm and displayed levels of readiness for the unexpected. These jobs require people that can handle themselves when lives are on the line.
Military veterans are accustomed to making sound decisions in difficult situations and are the least likely people to lose their composure. This value of control over pressure could be good for a Wall Street firm, secret service job or even a school teacher position.
Some military veterans are accustomed to positions requiring high performance: dealing with critical situations where accountability is of an extreme nature and a simple apology for a discrepancy or mishap is seen as unforgivable.
They are generally not uncomfortable in situations that require high levels of trust with critical information, guarding valuable items and/or property, or security over high priority people’s lives. Many have some form of security clearance and have earned the right to be trusted. In many cases, they can be trusted extensively with confidential information and to follow the law.
In contrast, positions that require the highest levels of trust from civilian employees are at a premium. The process of ascertaining security clearance for civilian employees is more difficult than veterans, which means those already with security clearances are in high demand from federal contractors and federal agencies. These organizations seek transitioning military veterans for their jobs first.
Occupations involving managing highly confidential information are absolutely necessary in the new millennium. Whether the person has a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) background, we now live in a world that is dependent and totally consumed with digital technology. Therefore, compromising secured data of customers’ credit cards, personnel records and other personal information is a high priority for many organizations. It is critical for every business to employ the highest levels of security to prevent information getting into the wrong hands. In this case, military veterans are perfect for the job. They are highly capable individuals, need little coaching, and have earned the right to be trusted. They more than deserve our respect and the chance for competing for opportunities in today's workplace.
Ed Crenshaw is a US Navy veteran, diversity practitioner, disability subject matter expert and creator of the innovative “Preparing Employers to Reintegrate Combat Exposed Veterans with Disabilities” (P.E.R.C.E.V.D.) diversity training program. He is also the author of the books, “The P.E.R.C.E.V.D. Principles” and “The Employers Guide to Understanding Hidden Conditions Related to Suicide.” As a well-renown professional speaker, Ed is a passionate champion and respected advocate for people with disabilities.