03.22.17

Thank You For Your Service: A Case for Veterans

Karl R. LaPan President & CEO, The NIIC

Good help is hard to find these days. We experienced this first hand when The NIIC recently posted part-time concierge positions.

The good news: Over 350 individuals applied for the positions.

The bad news: Most were not qualified, didn’t return emails or phone calls for further information and interviews. Finding ‘right fit talent’ is like a needle in a haystack, especially for start-ups, whose owners are typically figuring out everything at once.

Fact: We should remember that there is a much higher likelihood of veterans being self-employed. Nearly 10 percent of all business establishments are veteran-owned. This segment of entrepreneurs has both the entrepreneurial mindset and talents for working in and/or starting their own business. U.S. SBA has some really good resources for veterans. Entrepreneurial resource centers like The NIIC provide business expertise, service provider access, and business support services for veteran-owned businesses.

So what’s a busy business owner to do? Some might say the answer is to hire veterans (or more of them).Why? Because they’ve already been conditioned to be hardworking, loyal and disciplined, among other things.

Here are a few qualities that veterans are known to bring to the job, and how they might add to your company culture:

  • Unity: Veterans have an innate sense of comradery. Former warriors tend to embrace the commitment to each other, the company, tasks and the overall mission. They put the good of the company and their colleagues before their own interests.
  • Stamina: Burnout is a reality in any job. Veterans tend to be able to withstand a great deal of pressure and go the extra mile without getting fatigued mentally or physically. Their work ethic is unrivaled, and they transfer that same attitude to their post-service endeavors.
  • Communication: Veterans don’t mince words and put more stock into the message at hand than how it was said. They say what they mean and mean what they say. They tend to have a low tolerance for pettiness and office gossip.
  • Can do attitude: Problems are seen as welcome opportunities to this group. In fact, it can be said that analytical skills are in veterans’ DNA. They approach an issue and ask not if it can be resolved, but how.
  • Diversity and inclusion: The armed forces draw from almost every racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and religious background imaginable. As a result, veterans know to embrace differences in a way that’s to the advantage of the company.
  • Core values: Veterans lead by example by exhibiting qualities like integrity, humility, respect and trustworthiness. They inspire their peers to do better and, thus, improve the overall culture of the organization.

Veterans do have a lot to offer and can help grow and enhance your venture.  In fact, according to a survey from the VA, about 61 percent of respondents indicated that their military experience applied “A lot” or “Some” to their most recent civilian job.

If you have hired a veteran or veterans, share your company’s experience and learnings in the comments. If you have encouraged or worked with a vet to start their own business, share your lessons learned.

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