10 Things You Can Do to Help Veterans Maximize Their Performance in the Workplace


Working with veterans is not much different than working with any other employees. However, there are certain things to consider. To help you navigate the world of hiring veterans, here are 10 things you can to do help veterans maximize their performance in the Workplace. 

What can you do do to help veterans maximize their performance in the workplace: 

there are plenty of things you can to do help veterans maximize their performance in the workplace from letting them know you care and understand them to offering them opportunities to train, upskill and even just take personal time. From setting them up with mentors to focusing on mental health and ensuring coworkers are compassionate and understanding. Setting vets up for success sets your team up for success. 

1. Let the veteran know you are on their side


It is important to let veteran employees know that you have their back and you support them. Veterans generally joined the military to serve their country and may have been part of a team that depended on each other for well-being.

They are accustomed to a hierarchical structure where orders are carried out, not questioned. If a veteran reports for duty as an associate in your store or office, it is important from day one that they know you are on their team and support them. This is part of helping veterans navigate the civilian workforceOpens in a new tab.

2. Help the veteran to understand their military experience in terms of how it can help them in the Workplace


You can help veterans perform to the best of their abilities by helping them understand their military experience and what they can bring to the Workplace. It is important for them not to feel like they are an outsider when in fact, this isn’t how the majority of people feel about veterans. Many civilians view veterans as heroes who have made sacrifices that continue beyond service into their post-military lives.

The best way you can make a veteran feel like part of the team is to understand their military experience. For example, if you are in marketing and working on advertising material, knowing that your colleague was an aircraft technician in the Air Force can help you create an advert that better appeals to veterans.

3. Encourage and support the veteran’s professional development


Help vets be as effective as possible in their roles by providing up to date training and professional development. In order to support veterans’ professional development, it is important that the HR department provides mentoring and coaching, as well as create opportunities for further education. The company can also work with local educational institutions in their region to create opportunities for veterans to obtain additional training or degrees.

4. Give veterans opportunities to lead and contribute to projects


Many veteran employees have strong leadership skills that can be exploited to the benefit of the team and the company. However, many employees are hesitant to put this into practice because they are worried that their skills will be misunderstood or misused. This kind of thinking is understandable, but the risk of failure should not be a deterrent. If you give veterans an opportunity to lead and contribute to projects, they will perform well in order to prove themselves.

5. Acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices that veterans have made for our country


Simple things like a manager saying “Thank You for your service” can go a long way. It’s also important to show our appreciation by making sure veterans get the care they need from the V.A., and get the job opportunities they’ve earned after serving in the military.

6. Give vets mentoring opportunities 


A great way to help vets maximize their contributions is to set them up with mentorsOpens in a new tab. in the Workplace who can provide advice and support. In addition to making the veteran feel more at home in the Workplace, this strategy also creates a cultural shift within an organization because it encourages other employees to be mentors as well. In other words: help veterans get job experience by having them work with someone experienced.

Workplace mentors can help veterans by :

– Offering a more intimate perspective of the organization and its people

– Sharing valuable knowledge about how the organization operates

– Giving advice on how to present themselves to others outside their military groups

– Reflecting on veterans’ achievements from a veteran’s perspective, which can help identify areas of improvement or offer insight into how veterans can stand out from the pack

– Helping veterans find connections among employees in order to make themselves more welcome and comfortable

Mentoring programs can be set up in a number of ways, but they are most successful when mentors are matched with mentees on the basis of interests, personality traits, or specific job functions.

7. Allow flexible work 


Veterans may need more flexible hours as they reenter the civilian Workplace, especially if they have young families at home. The ability to make up for missed time during the evening, on weekends or holidays can be an enormous relief for veterans who feel overwhelmed by balancing family and work responsibilities.

They may also require flexible working arrangements in order to attend to mental health issues, seek further education and train for certification. This may mean working from home during specific hours of the day or week; allowing them to take time off during emergencies without worrying about negative consequences (work ethic is incredibly important in military circles); or taking regular breaks to run errands or stretch their legs.  

8. Focus on mental health 


Focusing on mental health is a crucial part of managing many returning veterans because issues during reintegration can lead to difficulties in social relationships, physical health problems, dependence on substances, and even suicide.

Combat trauma is often referred to as the “signature injury” of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom because so many service members suffer from it. It manifests itself in a variety of ways that may be challenging to spot, but one way to recognize it is by carefully observing veterans at work. Difficulty concentrating, flashbacks, negative moods and irritability are all possible signs of combat trauma.

9. Educate yourself on the experience of veterans 


You can best manage and optimize the productivity of veterans in the workplace by learning what their post-military experience is like. You don’t have to be a veteran yourself, but you do need to learn about their unique circumstances and challenges.

Read first-person accounts of veterans’ journeys through reintegration. Your Workplace will also likely benefit from the establishment of a support group for returning veterans, which can give them a place to connect with one another as well as with non-veterans.

You can use your employer brand to express support for veterans in the Workplace, and it’s also important to demonstrate that commitment by offering opportunities (e.g., hiring them or giving them flexible work arrangements) when they return home. It is a chance to show returning veterans that you are invested in their success and well-being.

10. Ensure team members do not stigmatize


While there are likely many people in your organization who have at least one veteran in their family, many may not and may believe harmful stereotypes that stigmatize veterans.

Just as you would remind employees to refrain from judging their colleagues on the basis of religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or other factors, you should make it clear that veterans are not to be judged for their service.

Conclusion 

As a manager, you should want to give all of your team members the tools and opportunities to become as effective and productive as they can be. Veteran employees sometimes need some special attention because of their experience, but that same experience can lend itself to high performance and be a major attribute to the team and company.

Further questions: 

1) What is one way transitioning vets might find jobs as civilians before they leave the military?

2) How can companies be more LGBTQ+ vet friendly?

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