Should Veterans Adjust to Us or Us to Them?
“In the military, we give medals to people who sacrifice themselves, so that others may survive. In corporations, we give bonuses to people who sacrifice others, so that they may benefit.” Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
It's not hard to find someone nowadays advancing the idea that hiring veterans is a good idea. After all, the saying goes, look at all the great traits the military teaches its service members:
- “Courage under fire,” which translates to “works well under pressure.”
- “Teamwork,” which translates to, “works well with others.”
- “Initiative,” which translates to, “Self-starter.”
- “Selfless service,” which translates roughly to “they’ll work hard and ask for little in return.”
- And “Discipline,” which translates to “they’ll show up to work on time and do what they’re told.”
What few CEOs or HR managers consider, is that they may commit to the feel-good measure of hiring Veterans and then realize few of the benefits they anticipated when making the hire. Unfortunately, what usually follows is someone becoming the Veteran’s apologist. Stakeholders expecting the Veteran to shine and finding themselves disappointed quickly run through the list of “usual suspect” excuses.
1) The Veteran is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life;
2) The military just didn’t train the Veteran for anything useful for the civilian market place;”
3) The Veteran must be suffering from PTSD or some other variety of “the military broke the Veteran.”
What almost none of them do is think to themselves or say out loud, “boy, we must have really fallen short of this Veteran’s expectations.” Unfortunately, even fewer would be willing to change their corporate culture if they did stop to ask the question and found themselves answering in the affirmative.
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