When developing a program for Veteran recruitment, there are a multitude of factors that must be considered - and the most critical of those is ensuring the framework for the program is set up thoughtfully and deliberately. With that being said, the first questions asked must address the goals of your organization and spark an honest assessment of your understanding of the Veteran and the Veteran hiring space.
One of the more critical errors made by companies when it comes to Veteran hiring, is a failure to build the program with depth and purpose. The program cannot be as simple as one person whose primary role is to recruit Veterans, but rather one or two people who manage a program that sources Veterans into functions that make sense (as determined by prior analysis), and who is simultaneously the internal advocate for the Veteran with business leaders and executives across the organization.
Below are just a few examples of those initial questions that I think must be asked when a Veteran program is in development:
1. In what job functions do we want to focus on hiring Veterans (operations, logistics, human resources, etc.)?
2. Do we have a numerical goal when it comes to number of Veterans hired? If so, what need is that number addressing? Do we even need one?
3. What kind of personnel, budget, and time are we willing to commit to this effort in order to make it successful?
4. Who are the most effective external partners in our area/region when it comes to Veteran employment? How do we establish relationships with them?
5. Who are the most effective partners within our own organization that can help in championing this effort?
6. Do we have an on-boarding and professional development process in place that will help us get Veteran hires assimilated into our culture quickly? Is there a resource group for Veterans within our company?
7. Have we signed an ESGR? Do we know what an ESGR is?
8. Do we have reporting systems in place to help us track Veteran hires so we can see where our efforts tend to be the most successful?
9. How will this program mesh with our other diversity and inclusion efforts?
10. Do we have an understanding of federal regulations with respect to protected Veterans?
These are just a few of the questions that must be asked before striking out into the space with any hope of being effective. Once these questions have been identified, pondered, and a plan has been developed that is realistic, actionable, and has buy-in from everyone involved, you can move forward with the act of recruiting Veterans into your company with some degree of clarity.
Building the program into an organization’s culture over time through clearly defined actions, and keeping the goals manageable and realistic, will ensure its long term success, and ultimately, whether or not the program has any real effect in bringing the fantastic talent that is a Veteran hire into your organization with regularity.
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