"Military-ready."  We hear that term more and more often lately.  It’s refers to employers who are ready to receive military talent.  Organizations that understand the nuances of hiring military talent versus non-military talent and have a plan for retaining and developing that talent.  But what does “military-ready” really mean? And why is it important to the military service member seeking private sector success?

Sometimes the question, "What is Military-ready?" feels akin the baseball scout who’s asked, "What are you looking for?" and responds, "I don’t know… but I’ll know it when I see it."  While there is a nebulous element to the concept (an "It" Factor), we are seeing emerging and concrete principles surrounding Military Readiness.

1. COMMITMENT

Military-ready employers are committed to hiring military talent.  It starts at the top and infiltrates the entire organism.  It goes beyond Executive Leadership and Boards of Directors.  It goes beyond HR and Talent Acquisition.

One of the most frequent obstacles to achieving military-readiness among employers is the failure to effectively engage hiring managers.  We sometimes refer to this situation as “the frozen middle.”  Often, the disconnect is caused by the natural inclination to adhere to long-standing hiring requirements.  “We need five years of compliance experience.”  “Three years for sales experience in the industry.”  “A 4-year degree.”  The military service member is not likely to possess those “functional experience” requirements.  Which is why true military-ready companies look beyond those confines and embrace and emphasize new and progressive criteria: soft skills, convertible competencies and high character.

 

2. MILITARY STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT & EXECUTION

Military-ready employers develop strategies that are aligned to their corporate culture and organizational objectives.  They communicate that strategy internally.  They engage stakeholders across the enterprise. They form Veteran Resource Groups. They train and educate.  They crave feedback.  They value potential.  They look for best athletes.  They measure results and adjust accordingly.  They realize that— with the right processes and clear communication—their rewards will be abundant.  And they know that all boats will rise and the service members who join and contribute to these organizations will share in that abundance.