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  • 18 February 2014
  • Dr Billy M.

Why hiring veterans is good business

Although hiring veterans is good business because of what they bring to the table — leadership and teamwork skills — negative perceptions still abound about their ability to integrate fully in civilian jobs and the fear that many may suffer from post-traumatic stress. In business circles, veteran unemployment is largely driven by this cultural gap that creates a Catch-22 for both veterans and you as a small business owner. It can be difficult to understand what veterans did while employed by the military and how their skills and experiences can benefit your business.

Reasons to hire veterans

Without loss of generality, many veterans are mature, responsible, and show significant managerial experience. In addition, they are used to chaotic and highly ambiguous environments, which enables them to handle stressful business situations. Some of them possess skills that are transferable to the business world. One reason for hiring veterans includes the benefits they can potentially bring to your business.

  • Tax incentives: Under an arrangement proposed by the Obama administration, any business owner who employs veterans stands to benefit from tax breaks. Under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC, employers hiring veterans are eligible for a federal tax credit that ranges from $1,200 to $9,600, depending on the veteran hired. You will be helping them advance into gainful employment while you reduce your business expenses.
  • Unique, unmatched skills: By virtue of their previous work environment, veterans work well in teams. They have good organizational and leadership skills and can handle crises calmly, having been accustomed to performing and making decisions in dynamic, rapidly escalating situations.
  • Character: Veterans are disciplined and honorable. They are perceived to be trustworthy, dependable, and have a strong work ethic that transfers well into a benefit for your business operations. They know something about loyalty, and they are likely to be committed to your company, which can translate to longer tenure.
  • Public relations value: Every business strives to be recognized, not just by the image it portrays but also in the products it offers to consumers. Veterans can augment your marketing efforts with free publicity. They will draw clients to your business from the military community, who may be more likely to buy your products because you support one of their own. However, also having goods and services that target these groups is a plus.
  • Resiliency: Working in difficult environments, constant traveling, and relocation has prepared veterans for jobs that involve frequent travel, which can be advantageous if your business has dealings across state lines or beyond national borders.
Training and Job Preparation

At the back of your mind, you must be thinking, what about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that many veterans suffer from? PTSD is real, and the government has put programs in place where affected veterans are taken care of so that its effects are mitigated. Additionally, the government as well as the private sector, have training schemes to prepare veterans for jobs in the private sector. A good example is the Fullbridge Program, which prepares veterans for business in many industries.

In sum, employing veterans contributes significantly to their reintegration into the community as well as to their overall wellness. You provide them with purpose and structure, and a way of being a part of a business mission. Veterans who have left the military are not waiting for deployment; rather, they want to change their lives for the better. You can make use of their skills and experience to propel your business forward as they get the opportunity to settle into meaningful civilian employment.

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