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How Veterans in the Workplace Can Contribute to Your Talent Pool

Human Resources

Veterans who work in the private sector can play increasingly important roles. Consider the numbers alone—IndustryWeek estimates that 1.5 million veterans will be entering the private sector workforce in the next five years. During their service, military personnel develop a host of positive skills that can translate to civilian working life. Consider four common traits that many veterans may bring to your organization–and how you can connect with and recruit them.

Goal-Oriented Individuals

Having a goal, breaking down the process to get it done, and achieving that goal comprise the foundations of productivity. Many military veterans have extensive training in setting and achieving goals, from managing teams to overseeing projects. When they enter the workforce, veterans can apply those same standards to achieve their daily goals or key performance indicators. Hiring veterans can be a smart way to invest in highly productive, focused, and engaged individuals—and often their systems and approaches to getting work done can positively inspire your larger team.

Focused on Teamwork

Being in the military requires that you thrive while working in a team environment. Veterans in the workplace have experience with many of the key elements of teamwork: balancing individual contributions with supporting team members, following a leader's vision, and carrying their own weight. Teamwork is a skill that has many applications in today's workplace, from getting more done to making it easier to work with a dispersed workforce across geographic lines. Strong team players can help increase productivity and improve overall staff morale.

Leadership Potential

In many cases, military situations provide veterans with critical leadership training. For example, veterans may be familiar with being responsible for the safety and performance of their teams and fellow soldiers or sailors. They may be in charge of complex processes and expensive assets, as well as executing sophisticated plans. This level of leadership training can translate into a key strategic asset in the workplace, whether you're focused on improving processes or need capable leaders to direct your team.

Strong Understanding of Processes

The military provides access and training to many of the latest forms of technology. For veterans in the workforce, that also means that they may better master new technologies in the private sector. Whether it's adapting to the latest mobile devices or learning new software, tech-savvy team members can serve as key additions to your talent pool.

Tips for Recruiting Veterans

For companies that are interested in recruiting veterans, it's important to remember a few key things. The first is that veterans may not have experience with typical private sector resumes and interview processes. Spend some time learning about the military system and consult resources to make your hiring process veteran-friendly. The Department of Defense offers resources on this important issue. It's also helpful to find a local liaison, often with Veterans Affairs, who can connect you with veteran-focused job fairs. In addition, it’s important to ensure that you understand any state or legal guidelines that determine whether a hiring preference is permitted for veterans, and where it is not, consider job-related criteria for hiring to minimize exposure to violations of anti-discrimination laws.

Veterans in the workforce can make important contributions. They come into private sector positions with a wide set of skills and experience that can make a helpful addition to any team. Hiring veterans could have a positive impact on your business. It could also give you the chance to thank a veteran for their service in a tangible and meaningful way.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.