Veterans Day 2022: The Value of a Veteran

As we approach Veterans Day this year, I want to acknowledge the positive strides Corporate America has made in its efforts to better understand the unique skillset of service members transitioning into the civilian workforce. There’s always more work to be done, but it’s important to celebrate the positive impact this work makes on the lives of our service members.

Military Veterans are currently employed at a greater rate than their civilian counterparts, yet as of 2021, nearly one-third of Veterans are underemployed. Meanwhile, most employers (59%) reported that Veterans perform “better than” or “much better than” non-Veterans and employers were more inclined to see Veterans as assets to their companies, compared to their non-Veteran colleagues, according to RecruitMilitary.

Therefore, we must continue to expand accessibility for military veterans in the civilian workforce. The following are two areas in particular where the private sector is working to improve the civilian workforce for our Vets.

Improving Private Sector Blind Spots

Companies and corporations are putting in more effort to better understand the unique skillset of the Veteran population. Thanks to non-profits as well as private sector initiatives, recruiters are learning to rely less on keyword scans of resumes and are applying human intelligence to translate experience from the battlefield to the boardroom. Leadership, perseverance, teamwork, and strong work ethic are all skills attributed to service members; all highly desirable in the modern workforce.

Yet these skills and traits are hard to quantify and not easy to identify without really understanding the individual. I applaud recruiters who take the time to review Veteran applications with a human eye instead of sorting them out based on their lack of corporate experience alone.

Military Champions Within HR and Leadership

A company can’t understand the value that service members bring if the people tasked with hiring and leading organizations themselves have not served. Companies have ESG and diversity officers, why not someone tasked as a liaison to the Veteran community?

Creating space for an internal champion who understands the Veteran background and experience is just one simple way companies can better serve those who have served us. This would provide Veterans transitioning into civilian roles with a mentor, colleague, or friend that understands the unique experiences they have.

Hiring veterans helps companies to meet diversity hiring goals, as the U.S. veteran population is extremely diverse. When the private sector looks to this cohort with open arms, they are also diversifying their workforce and hiring candidates that are uniquely dedicated and committed to their company.

At Sharp Decisions, we don’t just talk about these issues. We proudly act on them. As we approach our 10th anniversary of the V.E.T.S.TM Program, we have helped over 800 Veterans and Veteran spouses translate their unique, non-corporate derived capabilities into Corporate America’s desired skillset. This has led to countless fair and equitable careers following rigorous training designed to prepare them for the civilian workforce in the tech sector.

When companies partner with us through our V.E.T.S.TM Program, they find critical projects completed on time and under budget while providing meaningful employment to those who served to protect our country. We highly encourage Veterans and their spouses with tech backgrounds to engage with Sharp Decisions and our V.E.T.S.TM Program.

On this Veterans Day, I call upon businesses across all industries to take action to improve accessibility for Veterans in the civilian workforce. Ask yourselves how you can better engage with and create equitable opportunities for the Veteran population.

Have a safe Veterans Day and thank you to all who have served our country.

Karen Ross

CEO, Sharp Decisions