5 Steps to Successfully Hire Veterans - IE3: Business Tools for HVAC & Plumbing Contractors  

5 Steps to Successfully Hire Veterans

With jobs in HVAC projected to grow by 15% within the next 3-5 years, business owners and leaders may be wondering where to find the best skilled talent to add to their growing teams.

During my 14-years at Orion Talent, I have witnessed Military Veterans as a great talent solution for many workforce shortages in a variety of expanding industries, including great success as skilled technical hires within the HVAC industry.

Veterans bring unmatched experience, the ability to perform in high-stress situations, and technical expertise. They are graduates of top service academies, colleges, and technical schools. Veterans from many military backgrounds are skilled at working with their hands in extreme environments. This, coupled with the fact that veterans are highly trainable, makes them a natural match for HVAC.

ACCA members and Corporate Partners have learned first hand how well Veterans transition into the industry. Siemens, Honeywell, Trane, Carrier, Lennox, Mitsubishi Electric, and Emerson, among many others, continue to successfully hire transitioning and former Military Veterans for positions ranging from Field Service Engineers and HVAC Technicians to Project Managers, Sales, and Production Supervisors.

How do businesses attract Veterans?

If the business case for hiring Veterans exists at your company, it is important to have a well designed strategy for recruiting, hiring and onboarding them before you begin to do so. Companies wishing to take advantage of the capabilities and productivity Veterans bring to the workforce need to address sourcing, candidate recruiting, onboarding, integration, and retention.

Here are five steps we recommend any company looking to hire Veterans takes, in order to ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Create a Veteran Talent Strategy

An important first step is to align Key Leaders, Hiring Managers, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, Operations Managers, and anyone else who will be involved in the hiring process. Developing a desired end-state goal and basic path to get there is important to gain buy-in to ensure Veteran hiring success. It’s always a great idea to seek outside assistance in developing a full strategy or plan when first starting out.

  1. Pre-determine Realistic Goals

Set goals and define success through quantifiable metrics on hiring, performance, and retention data. Make the goals realistic and meaningful to your company, with a continued focus on the ‘business case’ for hiring Veterans – so there is always a benefit to your bottom line.  Veteran hiring is best managed through a metrics-driven process to ensure continuous quality and improvement, backed by measurable results. Determine the Key Performance Indicators that will accurately measure success, how they will be measured, and who is responsible for reporting on them.

  1. Educate Your Team

To bridge the gap between Military Talent and civilian Hiring Managers, it is imperative that those managers understand military backgrounds and skill sets. They must be able to translate military resumes and understand their civilian equivalents. This can be done by investing time in training hiring managers on properly evaluating what military occupations translate well into what positions, as well as the intangibles that often make possibly less-experienced veterans more qualified for your positions.

  1. Develop a Marketing & Outreach Campaign

Greater than 60% of Military Veteran job seekers cannot be found on any job board, via job fairs, nor can they be accessed through traditional advertising and recruiting methods, illustrating how ineffective these recruiting methods can be for hiring Veterans. It is important to reach Veterans where they are and keep in mind the uniqueness of their job search situation. They may be deployed, in the Reserves, or retiring. Developing a military-friendly brand can attract Veterans and show that you are genuinely interested in hiring them.  Do Veterans know and recognize your employment brand?

  1. Make Onboarding a Priority

Simply hiring Veterans is not enough to continue to attract more Veteran employees. Once hired, cultivate the engagement of each newly-hired Veteran by clearly defining their career progression, something they have come to expect from their time in the military. They were also given the tools to succeed at their job through various schools and training.

Companies should create the same opportunities by implementing initiatives like the creation of networking opportunities, mentorship programs, Veterans Employee Resource Groups (Veterans ERG), leadership development programs, annual skills assessments, and organization-wide Military Employee Referral Programs.

Taking these five steps and applying them to your unique business situation can help build a great Military Veteran hiring program, which in turn can create a fast and noteworthy impact on your organization’s bottom line.

Please feel free to contact me direct with any questions at dcoe@oriontalent.com / 513.544.3336.

David Coe

David Coe

Senior Vice President - Strategic Programs at Orion Talent
David Coe is Senior Vice President - Strategic Programs at Orion Talent.
David Coe

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