It is more than nice to see companies starting to ramp up their efforts to hire American veterans. As a 10-year Navy veteran, when I answered the call to defend our freedom some 20 years ago, I answered it willingly. I didn’t answer it just for myself, I answered it because I know personally that freedom is not free. I took the oath of enlistment and joined America’s Navy because I was stirred to serve something greater than myself. I answered the call to serve during the first Gulf War because there is no greater nation than the United States of America.
Having worn the uniform, I will not, and cannot ever forget the sacrifices that veterans have made to our country. It is only fitting that as Memorial Day 2012 has come and gone, that I write to encourage employers to remember our veterans as they fill their open positions. I know how difficult the transition from military to civilian life can be, and that is why I am proud to see initiatives underway like Hire Heroes (www.hireheroes.org).
To me this initiative couldn’t be more beneficial to both sides. This initiative also could not be more timely as a means to close the talent gap that exists in our current workforce. Veterans get stable employment and the chance to ease their transition back to civilian life, while the companies get true heroes and proven leaders. Who knows leadership better than the US Armed Forces? No one. Not GE, not 3M, not J&J. Veterans bring an increased amount of talent and credibility to your organization.
We come with a deep seated knowledge in how to get things done and how to lead others. It may take some time to transition from the leadership style of the Armed Forces to that of Corporate America, but that’s a transition that can be easily supported through coaching and with time. We also come with a keen sense of what performance under pressure looks like. We know when and how to turn it on, when to get serious and how to get the job done. Most importantly, we know how to read situations … we know when to move quickly with a sense of urgency, or pause for more information before moving forward.
If you hire a hero, you’re getting top of the line talent that is dedicated, driven, and disciplined to making the transition. Sure, you as an employer may need to help support that transition, and you may need to do it in ways that you wouldn’t do for other employees, but in the end you’re getting top talent that you can count on for their experience, and training to make themselves, and your organization better. When you hire a hero, you get an employee that less likely to be stuck in the middle between what they want, and who they need to be to contribute greatly to your organization.
As a final thought, I want to give a huge shout out to all of our veterans and their families that have sacrificed so much for us. Thank you all and may God continue to bless you. To my readers and followers, if you have not worn the uniform of our nation, I hope you took an opportunity to thank a veteran this past Memorial Day weekend for all of the contributions and sacrifices our heroes have made to keep our country great.
And to my fellow veterans, I render a hand salute and sound off with a loud “Bravo Zulu” to you for your continued honor, courage, and commitment.