Employing Veterans: An In-Depth Success Guide for Employers

Are you currently employing veterans? If not, you’re missing out on a large section of the talent pool that can help you get qualified candidates and lower your costs.

As an employer, you want to find a candidate who is responsible and reliable, does good work, and has skills that will benefit your organization. You need someone who works hard, can help you grow, and, perhaps most importantly, wants to work.

For the most part, veterans will fit the bill, even if they don’t always have the formal education requirements you’re looking for. And the skills that are usually taught in the classroom can easily be learned on the job.

employing veterans

Here’s what you need to know about employing veterans in your organization to help move your company forward.

Why Hire Veterans?

There are seemingly countless reasons why you should hire veterans. But it all comes down to one simple fact: it’s just good business sense.

Some companies have deemed veterans as turn-key leaders, meaning they can fit just about anywhere without much training. Veterans have experienced some of the most strenuous work conditions imaginable, along with intense training, discipline, and responsibility.

They’re physically and mentally equipped to deal with tough challenges. They excel at problem-solving, management, and critical thinking. Veterans know how to use resources well and pick up on information quickly.

employing veterans training

Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christian Garcia. https://www.defense.gov/observe/photo-gallery/igphoto/2002047975/

They also possess other qualities that put them head and shoulders above many civilian candidates, including punctuality, respect, leadership skills, and attention to detail.

The biggest question is, why wouldn’t you hire a vet?

The single biggest thing that may work against a veteran is a lack of formal education or degree. But military experience and other qualities should be considered in place of education requirements, especially if these things can be learned or earned on the job.

If so, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not considering a vet for the job.

Attracting Veterans to Your Open Positions

Many companies have made it a practice to attract vets specifically to their talent pool. Companies like Wells Fargo and T-Mobile have designed programs for military veterans (these programs can be found on their websites).

If you don’t have a program dedicated strictly for hiring vets, you might add some extra information in your job listings and descriptions. For example, you could include a line item like “We love hiring veterans” or add a field for veterans to indicate they served time in the military.

Another idea is to attend veteran job fairs and networking events. Set up a booth with applications and talk to veterans about your company, open positions, and why you’re interested in hiring them.

In addition, many companies will make public announcements about their intent to hire a certain number of veterans in a given timeframe to help broaden their casting net. This can be an excellent way to get the word out that you’re being proactive about employing veterans.

Training & Onboarding when Employing Veterans

Attracting veterans is just the beginning. Once you make the hire, you’ll want to do your best to retain your talent. For starters, it can cost a company several times its investment if a new employee walks within a few months of getting hired.

You’ll have to start the process from scratch and may even face productivity loss until you can hire someone new and bring them up to speed. Also, you won’t get the benefits of hiring a veteran that made you want to hire them in the first place.

Veterans who are just entering the civilian workforce after leaving the military will face many challenges. They’re becoming reacquainted with civilian life, and employers should take care to understand these challenges and help their employees cope.

employing veterans training class

It’s not enough to hire veterans. You must also create a veteran-friendly work environment, starting with your training and onboarding processes. Think of what you can offer your candidate to make their transition smooth and seamless and make them realize they made the right call in accepting your job offer.

Creating the Right Work Environment

Your company culture should reflect the openness to employing veterans. Your culture has the power to set the right tone and expectations for everyone on your staff. This includes your veteran employees.

One of the best ways to do this? Just ask a veteran.

Find out what they feel will be their biggest challenges as they make their first post-military transition into the workforce. Find out what support they need from company leaders and HR. Ask them how you can help them be successful in their new role. Let them know where they can turn for help or advice.

It can also be helpful to educate civilians on veteran challenges in the workforce. Teach them how it can affect the work environment when veterans are brought on board. This way, you’re creating a supportive work environment. Everyone can put their abilities to the best use and work together.

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Exploring Tax Credits when Employing Veterans

Employing veterans can also mean significant tax credits. In fact, one of the most attractive benefits for companies who hire veterans is the variety of tax credits that can help lessen their expenses. There are several veteran-related tax credits in effect right now that making hiring a veteran an easy decision:

Qualified Long-Term Unemployment

From now through December 2019, veterans who were receiving unemployment and become employed for no fewer than 27 consecutive weeks will earn their employer a tax credit of up to $2,400 (or 40% of the first year’s wages, whichever is lower), provided the veteran works 400 hours or more. For those that work at least 120 hours but not 400 hours, employers can receive 25% of the first year’s wages up to $1,500.

Long-Term Unemployment

Employers can get a tax credit of up to 40% of the veteran’s first $14,000 in wages (up to $5,600) if they hire a veteran that has been receiving unemployment benefits for at least six months.

Short-Term Unemployment

Employers can get a tax credit of up to 40% of the veteran’s first $6,000 in wages (up to $12.400) if they hire a veteran that has received at least four weeks of unemployment compensation.

Veterans with Service-Related Disabilities

The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit allows employers to receive 40% of the first $12,000 in wages (up to $4,800). To qualify, the veteran must be hired within one year of being discharged from the military.

Long-Term Unemployed Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities

Companies that hire veterans who have a service-connected disability and have been receiving unemployment benefits for longer than six months can qualify for a tax credit of 40% of the first $24,000 wages (up to $9,600). For tax-exempt organizations, this credit can be as high as $6,240.

Employing Veterans Makes Good Business Sense

When you hire veterans, you’re doing your business a favor. Veterans have strong leadership and communication skills. This can directly transfer into your organization, along with other star qualities that many non-veteran candidates can’t compete with.

In addition, your business could receive a tax credit. You can use it to help pay their salary and lessen your overall costs associated with training, onboarding, and recruiting. It’s a win/win for both you and your new hire. So take advantage of this talent pool and enjoy the benefits of having motivated, hardworking individuals on your team.

For more resources on jobs and veterans, head back to our blog.