There’s a big push during the SHRM conference this year — rightfully so — on hiring veterans. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to be winding down, there may be many military personnel looking for work in the civilian world. Should the economy ever truly recover, companies may even be able to hire some of them.
Should that happen, HR leaders should consider that the civilian leadership/organizational structure just doesn’t speak to many people trained by the military — most of whom were young when they entered the service and may not have held another real job beforehand.
And that lack of understanding leads to disillusionment and turnover, says Emily King, president of mymilitarytransition.com, who works with companies to help them better onboard vets.
“It’s like going to another country,” she says. “You don’t know the language.”
Part of the problem is that in the military, the mission is simple, straightforward and understood by everyone. In private organizations, it’s often just the opposite — with the mission becoming more diffused as it filters down the ranks.
Vets have an abundance of positive abilities to share, she notes, including leadership and loyalty, but those traits are not free and have to be earned by the organization.
By the same token, it’s really the vets that need to change — to learn how to fit within the organization.
“Trying to push back against an entire organization doesn’t work,” King says.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on positive figures being reported in the employment sector, new government data released today adds some more good news:
The government said Tuesday that the number of people quitting rose in April to nearly 2 million. That was the most in more than a year and an increase of nearly 12% since January. That compares with 1.75 million people who were laid off in April, the fewest since January 2007, before the recession.
During the depths of the recession, workers were hesitant to quit — and not only because jobs were scarce. Even if they found a new job, some feared that accepting it would leave them vulnerable to a layoff. At many companies, layoffs follow a simple formula: last hired, first fired.
Whether those quitters did so because they thought the economy was finally coming back around, or that a better fit could be found elsewhere, is anyone’s guess. But as we all know, when people quit, those positions must be filled, and I can almost hear the recruiters cheering the news now.
Probably pretty intuitive, but definitive nonetheless. A new study from Gallup-Healthways shows people working for employers that are in a hiring mode tend to have brighter outlooks on their own personal lives than those working for companies in the midst of layoffs.
No duh, right? Fair enough. But when you consider that as many as two-thirds (68 percent) of the 20,000 employed adults polled who were working at growing companies said they were thriving in their personal lives versus less than half (49 percent) working at downsizing organizations, it does cause pause to wonder: Is there something more HR can and should be doing during layoffs to help the survivors stave off depression? Translated: absence, loss of productivity, possible long-term disability?? (The ratings, by the way, were based on the Cantril Scale, which many organizations use to determine individual well-being.)
Granted, there’s not a whole lot HR leaders can do with this except maybe drum up even more satisfaction detectors and morale boosters than you already have in place to counter the layoff-survivor blues — or get some going if you have nothing at this point.
But consider this too: Even the simple fact that a reorganizing company is spending time, energy and money to ensure the survivors don’t go into emotional tailspins carries the subliminal message that things there can’t be that bad. Right?