According to Dr. Harry Croft, a former Army doctor and psychiatrist who has evaluated more than 7,000 veterans with PTSD, veterans can make for some of the best employees in the workplace — and there are things a company can do to be better prepared. Croft offers employers these tips:
- Understand the veteran, his or her skill sets, and the differences in military and civilian culture. Hire veterans in pairs or groups because they’re used to working that way.
- Learn about PTSD so if you hire a veteran dealing with it, you know what the symptoms really are. This will help you understand that vets are not trying to be disrespectful or obstinate and will help you understand the reasons they sometimes behave the way they do.
- Don’t give into the myths, mystique and stigma about veterans with PTSD. Never will someone with PTSD behave like Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghanistan civilians. He was suffering from much more than just PTSD alone.
- Offer the veterans you hire someone to talk to in confidence or a situation or way that might enable them to deal with their symptoms more effectively.
- Ask yourself why you want to hire veterans. It shouldn’t be because it’s a tax break, the patriotic thing to do, good for business, or because you feel sorry for them. They don’t want to be treated like charity; they want to be given opportunities because they are the right people for the job.
With one out of five veterans suffering with PTSD, and more troops on their way home, Croft believes all companies should start taking measures to accommodate veterans in the civilian workforce.
Source: Harry Croft, M.D., author of the book “I Always Sit with My Back to the Wall,” http://www.mybacktothewall.com.