Vet­er­ans Wired for ev­ery­thing from cus­tomer in­tel to robotics

Inc. (USA) - - STATE OF HIRING 2018 -

What Roles They Fill

Mil­i­tary spe­cial­ties such as air­craft main­te­nance and con­struc­tion equip­ment op­er­a­tions trans­late di­rectly into civil­ian life, says Ross A. Brown, head of mil­i­tary and vet­eran af­fairs at JPMor­gan Chase. At his em­ployer, for ex­am­ple, those pre­vi­ously in mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence ex­cel at cus­tomer re­search. Many vets also have ex­pe­ri­ence with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing GPS, A.I., drones, robots, and vir­tual re­al­ity, says Kather­ine Web­ster, founder of VetsinTech. Cy­ber­se­cu­rity is a sweet spot, she says: “They have se­cu­rity clear­ances and an in­grained de­sire to pro­tect.”


In ad­di­tion to tech skills de­vel­oped in the mil­i­tary, many vet­er­ans are cer­ti­fied in soft­ware from Sales­force, and more than a dozen other tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies have pledged to train 60,000 vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary spouses, mostly for free, by 2021.

How to Help Them Suc­ceed

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the mil­i­tary are sim­ple and di­rect, lack­ing the nuance and so­cial niceties of typ­i­cal busi­ness ex­changes, so teach new hires the less for­mal lan­guage of their new pro­fes­sion. Ris­ing through the mil­i­tary is like walk­ing upstairs: Each step is well de­fined and pre­dictable. Ris­ing in a busi­ness is like rock climb­ing: You’re al­ways look­ing for hand­holds, some­times go­ing side­ways be­fore you rise. Man­agers should lay out ca­reer paths and re­quire­ments to vet­er­ans in de­tail. They should pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to lead­er­ship, to which many vet­er­ans will want to re­turn.

Com­pa­nies Do­ing It Right

Star­bucks was re­cently crit­i­cized when an episode of racial in­sen­si­tiv­ity to­ward some cus­tomers got na­tional at­ten­tion. In hir­ing, how­ever, the com­pany has pur­sued di­ver­sity, in­clud­ing a push, be­gun in 2013, to hire 10,000 vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary spouses by this year. It’s al­ready reached 15,000, and is on track to hire 25,000 by 2025. Most are young peo­ple early in their civil­ian ca­reers with a sin­gle tour un­der their belts com­ing in as baris­tas. But “we also look for more se­nior vet­er­ans to fill lead­er­ship po­si­tions: store man­agers and dis­trict man­agers,” says Matt Kress, Star­bucks’ se­nior man­ager of vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary af­fairs. “When we put vet­er­ans into field lead­er­ship po­si­tions, the re­ten­tion is so high it is amaz­ing. This started as a na­tional obli­ga­tion, but we quickly re­al­ized that they make us a bet­ter com­pany.”

“Com­pa­nies over­look vet­er­ans’ amaz­ing skill sets, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to tech­nol­ogy, lead­er­ship, team build­ing, and trans­par­ent de­ci­sion mak­ing.” JU­LIA TAY­LOR KENNEDY Se­nior vice pres­i­dent at the Cen­ter for Tal­ent In­no­va­tion

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