Why Veterans and Civilian Employers Have So Much Trouble Communicating

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In his 2015 State of the Union address to Congress, President Obama encouraged American employers to “hire a veteran” if they want to get the job done.

Veterans bring high levels of integrity, commitment, loyalty, flexibility, skills and talents learned in high risk, high stress situations, plus the ability to navigate cultural narratives not taught in most business schools or university environments. So, why aren’t veterans getting hired?

The problem is that the two sides don’t know how to speak to the other. The tools and information shared with veterans leaving service are inadequately preparing them for the civilian conversation. Corporate hiring managers often feel confused on how to successfully recruit and onboard former military, leading to a disconnect in hiring from this powerful workforce.

hireveteransThe challenge starts with the narrative.

For several years I have worked with transitioning military, from those who enlisted for four years of service to highly-decorated senior military officers in the Pentagon.

The consistent comment I hear is, “I feel unprepared for a civilian career.” Some officers leave the military and quickly assume new careers in the defense and security industries, having been courted for those positions long before they retired.

For the majority of the veterans looking for a post-military career, the transition is fraught with confusion, fear and a lack of knowledge and information.





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