How was your Labor Day? Did you BBQ with friends and family? Chill out at the beach? Pound out a round of golf at your local club? For most of us, this Labor Day is spent doing anything but labor. Heck, most of us don't even want to think about our jobs on this holiday. We are content to take a nap, garden and get off the grid all together.
There is however an important part of our jobless population that would love to be forgetting about the job they wish they had and those are veterans who have completed their military service but have yet to find employment. On this day, many unemployed veterans are sending out resumes and applying for jobs on Monster.com or other job sites. Sure, they are spending time with family and friends but many wish that today was simply a day off from a job that was theirs.
So, my question and challenge to employers is this: Do you have a deliberate hiring strategy that focuses on hiring veterans? Sure, you might be open to hire a veteran if they apply but my point is different that merely being open. I am suggesting that you develop an intentional hiring strategy, approved by the executive staff and shared with the board that will accomplish the following objective: At least 10% of your workforce will consist of veterans you hire over the next 2 years and then at least 15% in the years to follow.
Why hire veterans? They are motivated, committed and disciplined. They bring an array of skills to your company that many other candidates don't. Veterans don't want to be given a hand out. They want an opportunity to compete for the positions you are seeking to fill. Military service prepares veterans for all kinds of jobs in the private sector and you should be considering veterans for every appropriate position they could be qualified for.
As you go back to work this week and begin to look at Calendar Q4/FY2013 hiring plans I challenge you to make hiring veterans a key performance indicator (KPI) for your HR and talent acquisitions teams. If you do, future Labor Days will have even more significance than simply a day off.