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9 Tips to Effectively Manage Veterans in the Workplace

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Veterans can enter the civilian workforce with a wide range of different perspectives and experiences. Managers may wonder how to best support their new veteran hires to ensure success in their roles. 

What is one tip to effectively manage veterans in the workplace?

To help business leaders provide guidance and support to veteran employees, we asked HR and business professionals this question for their best advice. From avoiding micromanagement to respecting their experience, there are several strategies that may help you manage veteran employees for years down the line. 

Here are nine ways to effectively lead veterans at your company: 

  • Avoid Micromanagement
  • Set Clear Expectations
  • Offer Mentorship Opportunities
  • Provide Structure and Strong Leadership
  • Dismiss Stereotypes
  • Support a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Emphasize the Company’s Mission
  • Respect Their Experience
  • Provide Proper Benefits

Avoid Micromanagement

One tip to effectively manage veterans in the workplace is to give them the details of their job and make sure it’s clear to them, but don’t micromanage. By providing autonomy, you are showing that you believe in their skills and believe in them to make their best judgment. This also can help break down any preconceived notions you might have about how veterans might act or how their military training impacted them. At the root of it, they are still people and thus are all different. Clearly explain and allow them to come to you if they need help, but hovering isn’t productive for anyone. 

Ryan Nouis, TruPath

Set Clear Expectations

Make sure your employees know what is expected from them on their first day at work, which is particularly important in the pipeline and pigging industry. This includes knowing how to use equipment, where things are located, and who to ask for assistance. Ensure that your new employees, veterans included, know this information before starting work. Review your training program and verify that it clearly covers their responsibilities to prepare them for success. 

Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions

Offer Mentorship Opportunities

Provide a mentorship program or an opportunity to join a veteran employee resource group (ERG). Mentoring programs and employer ERGs are an excellent way of helping new employees get up-to-speed on their jobs, as well as providing them with valuable career advice. Veteran ERGs are particularly beneficial in that they offer veteran employees a community to make authentic bonds, find a sense of belonging, and assist in career development, which results in higher retention rates. 

Veterans, as well as anyone just entering the workforce, can derive great value in learning from others and connecting with fellow veterans. It also helps create a positive working environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and open to asking questions.

Denise Gredler, Best Companies AZ

Provide Structure and Strong Leadership

One thing I learned early when hiring and working with veterans is they possess a strong level of detail and have come accustomed to clear upfront expectations provided from the start. Their military experience lends well with structure, hierarchy, and strong leadership. One way to effectively manage veterans is to provide detail, expectations, and strong leadership from the onset. This, coupled with autonomy, will lead to a great workplace environment for them to be successful. 

Jenn Christie, Markitors

Dismiss Stereotypes 

You do yourself and your new hire a disservice to lean on assumptions about veterans. And there is no shortage of stereotypes. The important thing is to understand the diversity of the veteran experience. For example, think about the risk of stereotyping Latinos. Just because someone has a Hispanic name or speaks Spanish doesn’t mean they’ve had the same experience. Judge your vet on performance, not on some preconceived notion on how you think your employee is programmed to act.

Saskia Ketz, Mojomox

Support a Healthy Lifestyle 

One tip for managing veterans in the workplace is to make sure that they have access to a gym or fitness facility to work out. This will help them not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. This will help them be better employees and do their best work. 

Tyler Read, PT Pioneer

Emphasize the Company’s Mission

When managing veterans in the workplace, make sure to clarify the mission and objectives of the company and the veteran’s position. While in the military, veterans are taught to focus on their mission first, so it can be helpful for them to have a clear understanding about what their goals are.

Justin Chan, June Shine

Respect Their Experience 

The one biggest management tip I can give when working with veterans is to respect what they have seen and done. A veteran employee comes with knowledge and experience that gives them perspective. They have seen and done things most of us can’t even imagine. Giving them respect for their service and experience will show them that you understand and want to work with them. 

Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology

Provide Proper Benefits

One tip to effectively manage veterans in a workplace is to make sure that they have access to proper benefits. Veterans often need access to health benefits and do their best work when their needs are taken care of first. Manage your veterans in an effective way and be sure that they have all the benefits they need to do their best work.

Darren Litt, MarketerHire

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published. 

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