Veterans in the Workplace

How Can Businesses Support and Retain Veterans in the Workplace?

Thousands of military personnel reenter civilian life every year looking for work — many of whom find navigating the corporate world challenging. Hiring veterans can benefit your company and those who have served.

Veterans make excellent team members with their self-starter attitude and strong work ethic, but they will almost always need extra assistance acclimating. Here is how you can support veterans through the hiring, onboarding and training processes and retain them long-term.

Veterans in the workplace
Source: Unsplash+

Best Practices for Hiring Veterans

Veteran support and retention in the workplace must occur at all stages, including talent search. Human resource specialists must follow best practices for hiring veterans through targeted outreach and a demonstrated need for their unique skill sets.

Here are three things businesses can do for veterans during hiring.

Targeted Job Advertisements

A targeted job advertisement might appear on a website frequently visited by veterans. These sources may include online job databases, social media, publications or job fairs for active and former military members.

Reaching and appealing to veterans requires tailoring the job description to their attributes and toning down industry and corporate jargon. Evaluate the position and concentrate on transferable soft and technical skills they can apply to the role, from data analysis to delegating to engine maintenance.

If the position requires product presentations or contract negotiations, would a former recruiting officer have the communication and persuasive skills you’re looking for? Veterans might also come with a mechanical experience they can use to operate complex machinery or repair appliances.

In addition to skill sets, remember to include other details about the job, such as how the company measures performance and expectations. Remember, these particulars may be unfamiliar to veteran applicants navigating the civilian workforce for the first time.

Comprehensive Onboarding

Providing the smoothest onboarding with as many resources and training as possible will help their transition.

Ensure success with an overview of the company and workplace culture, including how teams communicate, expectations, work hours and arrangements, and workplace events. What is the company’s mission and vision, and what’s the purpose of this business?

Also, review the company’s salary structure with them. They should understand the path toward promotions and how pay increases work. Likewise, reviewing taxes, deductions, and bonus opportunities is necessary.

As they move into training, check in with them frequently to help them avoid burnout and reinforce positive deliverables. Veterans will likely be used to military exercise debriefs to know which areas need improvement, and you can provide something similar.

Veteran-Friendly Benefits Packages

Some veterans may have relied on six months of emergency savings or longer before they landed this job. A veteran-friendly benefits package from day one can significantly impact their lives.

A benefits package should always include health, dental and vision insurance. An employee assistance program (EAP) is another excellent benefit companies can provide for mental health support. In an EAP, a trained individual delivers counseling and information to employees and their families. If needed, they can write referrals for long-term mental health assistance.

Veterans’ families have likely gone through a lot during active duty. Offering paid parental leave, paid time off, sick leave and child care provides critical assistance to the whole family. These benefits can make veterans’ work-life balance more attainable and their transition less stressful.

Delivering On-the-Job Support

Acclimating to civilian life is hard enough, but adjusting to working outside of one’s military service can be exceedingly difficult for some. It is critical businesses offer superior on-the-job resources and assistance after hiring veterans.

Here are four ways to lend your support.

Flexible Work

The workforce has spoken — 55% of employees prefer remote work, while 59% would accept another job if they could work from home. Some employees are wary of remote work, but flexible work arrangements can prove invaluable for veterans entering the corporate world.

Many veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following their service. PTSD can significantly lower quality of life, cause higher rates of substance abuse and suicide and lead to greater unemployment and workplace absenteeism.

When given the flexibility to complete work on their own time, veterans can better care for their mental health, schedule therapy appointments and seek treatment. Consider allowing any one or a combination of the flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting, hybrid work, flextime, compressed workweeks, weekend shifts, and day and night shifts.

Inclusive Work Culture

An inclusive workplace creates a sense of belonging and purpose for veterans. A manager should always translate and nurture their most transferable military skills, allowing them to successfully ease into their civilian job. Additionally, recognizing veteran employees for their milestones and exceptional work will create a more inclusive environment.

Some veterans may have disabilities from their time in the service. Understanding their barriers will allow you to provide the necessary accommodations for success.

Offering specialized training, workshops and continuing education will also allow them to thrive. Likewise, training and educating your staff on handling differences among co-workers and working with veterans is helpful.


Pairing veterans with experienced corporate professionals is an excellent way to bridge their skills gaps and foster career growth. Likewise, a mentor can dissect a veteran’s experience to unearth the unique military skills they can bring to the job, such as a mission-oriented mindset, self-discipline and loyalty.

Studies show 62% of employers believe veterans require more education and training to qualify for positions in the private sector. A mentor can bring them up to speed, answer their questions, guide them to new opportunities and broaden their professional network.

Mentorship also improves retention rates among veteran employees by helping them navigate their career paths and discover their innate talents and passions. If possible, pair them with a mentor who also served in the military.

Veterans Make the Hardest-Working Professionals

Hiring veterans will result in positive business outcomes when companies offer adequate support. Invest time, effort and resources into your veteran workers — especially in helping them transfer their most crucial military skills — and your company will flourish.

Eleanor is editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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