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Reaching Military Veterans: Hire like you mean it!

By: Beverly Ringstaff, Creative Manager, ACS Advertising

Many trucking companies are rolling out “military hiring programs” or “veteran career transition” programs these days but when you look closer, are these programs actually created with the post-military job seeker in mind?

If you’re looking to appeal to the servicemen and women who are moving into the civilian job work world, you need to make sure your veteran hiring program fits the (G.I.)bill. Here are some suggestions to consider when building your veteran career program.

1) Create a program just for military veterans. Sounds obvious, but we see a lot of carriers touting a military hiring program that is basically their normal on-boarding program or lease purchase plan. If you’re building a veteran hiring program, make it one that truly sets them apart from the rest of your drivers or employees. Consider advantages or extras just for the military veteran. Maybe it’s an extra half-cent per mile for each overseas deployment. Or tie a reward to their years of military service like an additional day off with pay every six months. Be creative! Just think about how you’re tangibly rewarding a person for their service to the country.

2) Look at the intangibles. Many veterans simply want their service to be recognized and respected. Carriers that have developed veteran-focused decals to place on the trucks or patches for their uniforms are greatly appreciated by veterans who don’t want to toot their own bugles but want others to know of their patriotism and commitment.

3) Be sure your recruiters are ready.Your recruiters should be educated and trained on specific military recruiting topics. For example, make sure you have at least one recruiter who is comfortable discussing job requirements and challenges with disabled veterans – these individuals are ready to work, they just want the opportunity. Make sure your recruiting staff understands the basics of military skills and certifications that could help a veteran be successful behind the wheel at your company. You can always contact veteran support groups for help in reaching their membership. A good source for finding the right group is at Military Support Groups of America [www.militarysupportgroups.org]

4) Think beyond the veteran.Your program should reach beyond the veterans themselves. Consider the veterans’ families and caregivers for positions. There are many job seekers who are financially responsible for taking care of a loved one who was injured in battle. Those people need a job that will offer stability and long-term profitability to tend to the needs at home.

When it comes down to it, hiring veterans, their families, and caregivers is simply the right thing to do but take some time to create a program that is meaningful. You need to do more than think of a catchy name to grab attention. Take the time to prepare your recruiters, to develop a reward and recognition program specifically for vets, then consider how you can expand your program to reach others in the veteran’s circle. If you do, you’ll have a program built on a strong foundation for growth and positive word-of-mouth in the veteran community.

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