Key 6 - Share Success Stories of Veterans and Spouses In Your Workforce

In our last post - Key 5 - Identify and Prioritize Your Talent Needs - we learned that identifying your top talent needs is imperative to driving the success of your program. Why’s that? Identifying and prioritizing your key talent needs allows you and your team to narrow your focus from very broad to very specific. It's much easier to hire for three roles at a time than it is to hire for thirty.

Now, let's start focusing on communicating both internally and externally about your military hiring and retention efforts. It is critically important to communicate about the veteran and military spouse success stories you have within your workforce for a few reasons:

  1. Sharing stories increases the visibility of your program internally. It is likely, if you are in the very beginning stages of launching a program, that few people across your organization know about your intent to hire, retain, and engage members of the military community. It's also unlikely, at least on a large scale, that many of your employees know that a few executives or managers are veterans or military spouses. Sharing stories brings awareness of the military community to your entire organization, thus making it easier to accomplish your goals of recruiting, hiring, engaging, and retaining veterans and spouses.
  2. Sharing stories increases the visibility of your program externally. Just like with internal awareness, greater external awareness of your efforts to recruit, hire, and retain military talent will occur through communications and storytelling. Most times, the stories you share internally could also be shared externally as long as the individual whom the story is about agrees and your communications team signs off. You can share these pieces through social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook and encourage your employees to share these stories with their networks.
  3. Sharing stories makes people more "human" and approachable. One of the biggest goals with communicating these personal stories is to make veterans and military spouses more "human." Many individuals who are unfamiliar with the military sometimes view service members and veterans with certain biases and they don't often realize that the military community is made up of people just like them. The only difference is that shared experiences may vary. However, this is a great opportunity to create a stronger degree of approachability and connectedness, which will ultimately result in positive outcomes for both your civilian and military employees.

Here are some ideas of what you can write about:

  • Write-ups of real life military-to-civilian career paths – how have veterans, military spouses, and members of the Guard & Reserve transitioned successfully into your company?
  • Highlight stories about why veterans or military spouses have stayed with your company for the last 15-20 years. 
  • Share an interview of top executives as to how military employees have significantly impacted your company in a positive way.
  • And, if you're feeling bold, share a story of a veteran or military spouse who may have struggled at first in your company due to a lack of transition assistance or mentorship. Just ensure the story highlights the ways your company grew to support them in their transition, which led to a positive outcome for both the veteran/military spouse and your company.

The goal with all of these stories is to share real life examples of military employees throughout your workforce. Share these stories internally and externally to drive awareness of successful veterans, military spouses, and members of the Guard/Reserve across your company or organization.

One of the most impactful series of communications and stories our clients have ever created has been the “Veteran Leadership Series.” In each iteration of the Veteran Leadership Series, a company interviews one or multiple management level veterans across their workforce and shares answers to questions like:

  • How did your military service impact your leadership style?
  • What key lessons did you learn in the military that you now use in your day to day work at XYZ Company?
  • What advice would you give to transitioning service members and military spouses relating to career or professional development?
Whatever stories or interviews you decide to share, make sure that they are authentic and real.

The VLS has helped to create greater dialogue throughout our client organizations and has even led to the creation of quarterly in-person networking sessions between employees from the military community and civilian employees who would like to learn more about the military.

If you have questions or comments relating to this article or any other articles we have published, please do not hesitate to reach out! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.