4 Top Tips to Attracting and Retaining Veteran Talent

There are many reasons that veterans make for great employees and leaders in the workplace.

Two that come to mind? They are resilient, adaptable, entrepreneurial, results-oriented, and incredible at teamwork, and they are commonly trained in and at the forefront of tech.

This is not new news to companies such as Boeing, whose Director of Boeing Global Engagement (and West Point alum) Jason Pak says veteran leadership “enriches Boeing’s culture and the vital work that [we] do.” 

At Lever, we know that veterans enhance company culture.

Our EVP of Customer Experience, Todd Martin, is a U.S. Army veteran. His experience spans over 25 years in startups and large, public companies alike, including Practice Fusion, The Associated Press, IBM, and Accenture. 

We asked him what influence his time in the Army had in shaping his career. His reply:

  • “I am grateful for those early years of service. I joined the Army right out of high school and was immediately opened up by a world filled with men and women from all over the U.S. that was much more diverse than anything in my prior life experience.
  • I felt firsthand the impact of organizational hierarchy and how culture can be shaped by what it emphasizes like commitment, integrity, professionalism, mentoring, and teamwork.
  • In the end, the formal and informal mentoring from leaders that took interest is what propelled and motivated me to immerse myself in my college education after my service was over.”

Todd went on to share about his experience with Lever:

  • “Today at Lever, we try to hire people that will expand what we’re good at. Will they stretch us, add a different perspective, and make us a better team?”
  • Our emphasis on diversity and the professional growth of our team is rooted in our culture and continually reinforced by our experience that it makes us stronger.”
  • We believe the same is true for our customers and are committed to providing the guidance, software, and services to help them be successful in hiring their own diverse workforce.”

Hiring is a team sport where the team itself can be stronger with each hire.

With that in mind, how can you enable your team to assess talent with the same objectives? Could your team be made stronger and embrace a culture that attracts resilient, adaptable, entrepreneurial, team-oriented veteran talent?

Here are four top tips for attracting and retaining veteran talent.

1) Enable learning for employees to stay motivated

By providing learning opportunities, all talent including veterans will stay engaged to do their best work and continue raising the bar.

According to this Fast Company article on why veterans make great tech employees, a core component of Salesforce Military is Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform.

Since 2014, with Trailhead, Salesforce Military has upskilled and reskilled a growing community of more than 30,000 military Trailblazers with high-demand technology skills and certifications. This enables veteran talent to launch meaningful careers in the Salesforce ecosystem.

2) Amplify your mission and vision in your job descriptions

Veterans have a mission-first mindset. They thrive in problem-solving and critical thinking. This might be no different than the existing work product that you are selling, which also is solving a problem and delivering on a mission.

Ensure that you nail that message about your company’s mission and distribute it in the best way to reach top talent.

This could be through personalized emails, a section of your website, social media, or all of the above. Veterans want to feel alignment between their core values and the company’s. 

Veterans also need more realistic expectations of the workplace they’re joining.

So, to better manage expectations for veterans, have the honest truth about the nature of relationships, behaviors, business values, compensation, and career paths at your place of work clearly listed to ease their transition.

Also, soft skills such as critical thinking are an incredible ‘culture add’ to look for in candidates, which, according to this LinkedIn article, 59% of hiring managers believe are hard to find.

Pro Tip: Our recruiting platform enables companies with LeverTRM to email and nurture the best talent in a personalized way that sparks their interest to come in and solve problems that your business is facing on day one.

3) Create a welcoming environment

SHRM spotlights this as an effective way to attract and retain veteran talent. Their top example is when former Marine Victor Szeligowski interviewed for a job at AT&T and the hiring manager arranged for him to first meet with another veteran at the company.

A DEI panel on A Pathway to Inclusion at Lever Ascend shows how companies can be more inclusive and overcome fatigue when it comes to hiring more diverse employees.

One of the top ways is to ensure that candidates see people like themselves within the hiring process. That’s one of the only ways Spotify shared that inclusion can really begin.

It starts with belonging.

Three ways to show a welcome environment in the interview:

  • Allow for candidates to meet with employees like themselves
  • Post a video about the team they will be joining
  • Spotlight employees across the company on your blog or website

4) Enable a Veteran Employee Resource Group

Ensure your company is inclusive to all talent coming into your organization.

Everyone has a different background to account for, different strengths, different weaknesses, and — with veterans specifically — know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can find a community within your organization to better play to their strengths and feel supported when overcoming some of the harsh transition to more of a ‘civilian’ workplace. 

More than 9,000 veteran employees belong to AT&T’s resource group, which has 42 chapters around the country. This is admirable and maybe a lot for many companies to consider at the start. Perhaps, it’s a spotlight or roundtable discussion to honor veteran talent.

Check out SHRM’s report on integrating veterans in the workforce for more in-depth information on engagement and impacts when hiring veterans.

If you’d like to learn more about how to attract and retain more diverse talent, check out our resource page to learn how you can Build your DEI Tech Stack for your own company.

Further reading