The US Department of Labor’s online “Veterans’ Hiring Toolkit” provides a six-step process to help employers design a veterans’ hiring initiative. Here is a summary:
1. Design a strategy for your veterans’ hiring initiative.
- Become familiar with the benefits of hiring transitioning service members, veterans and wounded warriors.
- Learn about tax incentives associated with the hiring of veterans, as well as disabled veterans.
- Plan for results and start with the basics.
2. Create a welcoming and educated workplace for an easy military-to-civilian transition.
- Develop an understanding of military culture and experience.
- Establish your company and its job application process as veteran friendly.
- Learn the facts about hiring veterans with invisible wounds of war. Demystify traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in the workplace.
3. Actively recruit veterans and military spouses.
- Determine employment opportunities and create detailed job descriptions.
- Consider using military language in your outreach and job descriptions.
- Consider alternatives to full-time employment, such as work experiences, internships and apprenticeships.
- Access credible resources to help you look for qualified veterans and wounded warriors who are seeking employment.
- Know what you can and should not ask during an interview.
4. Hire qualified veterans and learn to accommodate wounded warriors.
- Create a culturally sensitive new hire orientation plan.
- Understand your responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Consider disclosure concerns.
- Know where to obtain free, one-on-one guidance on job accommodations.
5. Promote an inclusive workplace to retain veteran employees.
- Place a value on military service.
- Expand traditional Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
- Develop and promote peer mentorships in the workplace — vet to vet.
- Practice appreciation of veterans and promote a veteran-friendly workplace.
- Recognize that military families may have different needs than civilian families.
- Consider participating in local Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Programs.
- Understand your responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
6. Keep helpful tools and resources at your fingertips.
- Keep informed via social networking and e-news.
- Access resources on recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans.
- Check out answers to common employer questions about veteran and disability employment, including those about:
- workplace accommodations;
- cost, liabilities and return on investment;
- candidate qualifications and capabilities;
- stigma and employees with psychological health injuries and mental health concerns; and
- staff training and disability-friendly workplaces.
The toolkit allows employers to select from promising practices to successfully welcome talented and skilled veterans into their organizations. For more information about each of the steps, check out http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/forEmployers/HiringToolkit.
Source: Hiring Veterans: A Step-by-Step Toolkit for Employers, released October 28, 2010; America’s Heroes at Work, US Department of Labor, http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov.