In times of crisis, the nation turns to its military to lead the way. From natural disasters to man-made ones, the members of the military are often front and center.
Senior military leaders are tasked to lead a coordinated response to the crisis – and Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen will head into harm’s way to rescue, respond, and help solve problems. National Guard and Reservists will leave their families behind, put on their uniform and do their “other” job – often at personal and professional expense.
There is a reason the United States has come to rely on its military – no other organization has the equal ability to tackle a crisis.
Many of the best-run companies in the US have seen the benefits of incorporating that capability to their organization. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, Bank of America, and Home Depot have all seen the business results Veterans can deliver and have hired thousands of former service members. They value the leadership experience, training, maturity, and work ethic they bring.
That was during ordinary times.
In extraordinary times Veterans can be the difference between continuing as a company and going out of business.
Here is why:
1. Broad and deep skill sets. Every member of the military has multiple competencies and depth of experience. In times of economic uncertainty, companies need to run as lean as possible. Employees that can wear a lot of different hats are much more valuable than employees that can only do one job function. Veterans are unlikely to say, “That’s not in my job description.”
2. They have survived the crucible already. Why wouldn’t you hire someone already tested in some of the toughest environments in the world? In basic training, recruits are repeatedly challenged and pushed to their limits. Advanced training like Ranger School is designed to be more difficult than actual combat situations. Real-world experiences in the military develop resilience and grit that organizations need right now.
3. Leadership vs. management. Leaders lead. Managers manage. In times of crisis, your company needs strong leaders who can build cohesive teams and get the most out of them. They can filter out the distractions and focus on what is important right now. They know a good plan executed well now is better than a great plan executed months or weeks from now. They lead from the front – not the back office. Your employees want strong leadership in times of crisis - not managers.
4. Leaders at all levels. Leadership experience starts early in a military career. Younger service members have often led teams while still in their teens or early twenties – far in advance of their civilian counterparts. Your critical first-tier managers – supervisors, team leads, or superintendents can come to you already with years of experience leading, and decades ahead to work for you.
5. Mission-driven. Military leaders are focused on accomplishing the mission – often with limited or no directions on how to get something done. They will balance the needs of their troops vs. accomplishing the task at hand and are willing to sacrifice personal comfort to do so. They will work the problem using available tools – not sit idle waiting for more resources to appear. This could be a critical skill in the months and years to come for business.
6. Process-oriented. One of the important aspects of the military is building repeatable processes – from how to maintain equipment to checklists ensuring safety measures are not missed. They are trained to keep the operation moving forward despite a constantly changing team as people move in and out of a command. Teams are constantly reviewing and refining how they can perform better and take lessons-learned forward to future engagements. Right now,
7. Risk mitigation. Obviously, there are elements of military service that are not risk-free. Military leaders work to mitigate risk, protect their people and assets as best they can, and do a risk analysis of the expected risk vs. rewards. They can build strategies for an array of if/then scenarios and plan accordingly to react to changing conditions.
8. Bridge builders. The US military reflects the best the US has to offer. They have been trained to work together across “tribal” lines – the various cliques working teams can build up internally and externally - to get the job done.
9. Agility. There is not an organization in the world under normal operating conditions right now. The military experience is about thinking on your feet and adapting to new situations. Service members are routinely exposed to new roles and responsibilities. This forces them to learn and adapt quickly. This is an important skill companies need right now – especially if they are required to pivot their business in a new direction.
10. Your bench for after. Even now, companies need to be thinking long-term for what comes next – next quarter, next year. Maybe they will need to be handling more work with a fraction of the team. Maybe they will keep a large proportion of their team working remotely. Maybe they will uncover a whole new business opportunity. Having a deep bench of experienced leaders to rely on will give them the ability to adapt and flourish in the post-Covid-19 era.
The best part of hiring someone from the military is that most of their training has already been bought and paid for by the government (well, the taxpayer). All an organization needs to do is train them on how they do business, which is much easier, faster, and cheaper than trying to teach someone how to be a leader.
At The Rivet Group, we have worked with many companies to hire transitioning service members. We love hearing stories from our clients of the impact our candidates have made. If you would like to hear their success stories, we have many we can share with you - many are game changing.
If your company is ready to hire Veterans, civilians, or needs help building your own military recruiting program, we can help. Reach out to us at www.rivetgroupllc.com to learn more.