3 Techniques for Hiring and Retaining Military Veterans

As a federal contractor you may already understand some of what’s expected of your business and its hiring, retention, and recordkeeping practices related to affirmative action for protected veterans. Veterans are routinely described as loyal, hardworking, and trustworthy employees that provide unique perspectives and experiences which assist employers with the advancement of workplace objectives. The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment and Assistance Act (VEVRAA) serves to help veterans build lives for themselves after an era in which Vietnam War veterans were frequently discriminated against. As such, federal contractors are required to provide equal opportunity and undertake affirmative action to recruit and advance the employment of veterans in the workplace. Additionally, contractors must also complete VETS-4212 reports that detail their efforts to employ and retain veterans. To ensure your business complies, here are three techniques for hiring and retaining military veterans:

Update Job Descriptions

How do you describe your ideal candidate? When considering job descriptions, ask yourself why the job’s requirements are what they are. Does an applicant really need five years of prior experience or a master’s degree? Many veterans are unable to meet criteria such as a certain number of years of experience or specific qualifications, since many veterans don’t have degrees or certificates offered in the private sector. In fact, many veterans join the military to obtain the benefits of military service, which includes the Montgomery GI Bill, providing a pathway to higher education that may not have been an option for prior to service.

While many veterans may not have degrees or certificates from educational institutions, the military teaches many educational and social skills that are transferable to the private sector. Furthermore, consider other beneficial traits that veterans have, such as a strong sense of discipline and work ethic thanks to the rigorous training of the military which rewards high performers and teaches the necessity of teamwork.

Hiring and Retention – Recordkeeping and Analysis

The next best technique for hiring and retaining military veterans is to record and examine the data that comes out of your hiring pipeline. This can give you valuable information that identifies where you see the greatest gains and losses regarding veterans. Keep records of your outreach and recruitment activities, following up with recruitment source contacts to verify they are providing your job postings with their talent networks. Follow up with applicants and hires by requesting their recruitment source (“How did you hear about us?”) to determine the effectiveness of your outreach activities. Leverage internal resources by involving managers or other employees that want to participate in career fairs and other outreach activities that target veterans. Provide internal advancement opportunities such as mentorship programs, encouraging veterans to apply. Monitor veteran retention rates and ensure exit interviews are conducted with particular focus on veteran separations.

By examining each stage of the employment process, employers can determine ‘fall-off’ points that will help inform changes that may be required to your processes that will further your company’s efforts to attract and retain veteran talent.

Leverage Outsourcing

Federal contractors subject to OFCCP’s jurisdictional thresholds are required to prepare written affirmative action plans for protected veterans. These plans require the solicitation and retention of confidential veteran data at various points in the selection process, which must be retained and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of outreach efforts and compliance with affirmative action obligations. Additionally, contractors subject to the preparation of an affirmative action plan for veterans must also annually prepare and submit VETS-4212 reports which detail veteran retention and assist the Federal government with their goal of ensuring workplaces are fair and equitable for veterans. These processes can be complex and time consuming, diverting attention and resources that many human resource and talent acquisition departments may not otherwise have. For this reason, outsourcing affirmative action plans and VETS-4212 reporting to affirmative action compliance consultants may be your best choice. Our consultants are your employer’s ‘easy button’ to ensure compliance with your veteran affirmative action obligations.