Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2nd Annual Patriot Challenge 5K - September 26, 2015

Show Your Colors in support of Military Veterans!

Patriot Challenge 5K
Cary, North Carolina

September 26, 2015
Koka Booth Amphitheatre | 8003 Regency Pkwy, Cary, NC 27518

The first Patriot Challenge in September 2014

Join us for the 2nd Annual Patriot Challenge 5K at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre! This family friendly event will feature a timed 5K run/walk for adults and kids alike, and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Proceeds directly benefit our partner Veteran Organizations - Operation Military EmbraceChildren of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and Warrior HikeDue to contributions and participation, we were able to raise a total of $23,809 for our three partner charities last year, with 268 runners in attendance. 

Orion is pleased to host a variety of sponsors this year, including L&E Research, Systematic Business Consulting, Omega Sports, and Sheetz. Corporate Sponsor packages for this year are still available, as well as In-Kind Donations. You can make an Individual Donation here. All sponsorships and donations are tax deductible.

Click here to learn more and register.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

6 Reasons Veterans aren't Applying to your Company

Many companies realize the value of hiring veterans but are left wondering why veterans aren't applying to their company. When it comes to recruiting veterans, a one-size-fits-all approach is not a good idea. Recruiting methods need to be targeted and appropriate. Falling into the trap of one of the six big mistakes can cost a company a talented new employee.

1. Your Careers website is not veteran-friendly. A generic Careers website doesn't speak to veterans, since many are coming straight out of the military. In fact, veterans come from a unique situation with a variety of skill sets and expectations. It is important to highlight the veteran culture at your company in a way that validates your veteran preference. Examples include listing press releases of your work with veterans, Veteran Spotlights, Partnerships Awards / recognition, and military-friendly HR policies.

2. Your Hiring Managers do not understand how to translate military experience. This is a major mistake that can lead to the loss of qualified veteran candidates. It is important to cross-reference your job descriptions with veteran skills and to educate your hiring managers on 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.

3. Your hiring process is confusing and slow as molasses. In the military, veterans are given a clear course of promotion and are kept informed along the way. They expect the same in their civilian hiring process. Your hiring process should be clearly explained, including describing how long it takes and what is involved, and should move along at a good pace with good communication. Often, good veteran candidates are lost because they perceive a lack of communication to be a lack of interest.

4. Your hiring message is not appropriately targeted to veterans. When issuing messaging about hiring veterans, it is important to provide quantifiable evidence giving the number of veterans hired and giving legitimacy to their efforts through lists of their veteran perks. Simply saying, “We’re hiring veterans,” is not enough. A better message would be: Company XYZ has committed to hiring 100 veterans for technical positions throughout 2015 and 2016.

5. You don’t develop and train your veteran employees. Simply hiring veterans is not enough to continue to attract veteran employees. Veterans often expect that their career progression be clearly defined as it was in the military. Also in the military, they were given the tools to succeed through various schools and training. Civilian companies can mirror this structure through the implementation of Leadership development programs, Veterans affinity groups, annual skills assessments, and Mentorship programs.

6. You don’t understand the importance of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Most transitioning service members rely on referrals, their personal networks, alumni associations, or firms specializing in placing military.  Often, they have never before been required to conduct a job search and tend to seek the counsel of fellow veterans that have previously made a successful transition. This reliance on word-of-mouth can hurt you in the military community, as a recent survey revealed that 83% of candidates in general tell their family and friends about their experience and 64% spread the word on social media.

These six mistakes can easily stand between your company and hiring from the most talented labor pool this country has to offer. But they don’t have to. With a little research, effort, and teamwork, companies can highlight their military recruiting efforts in a way sure to attract qualified veteran candidates.

To learn more about how you can market your company to veteran candidates, click here. You can also view our Best Practices for Successful Military Talent Programs here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4 Ways Hiring Veterans Can Save You Money

For the thousands of companies today that are actively recruiting veterans, surely one of the biggest motivators is a sense of patriotism. And while this is certainly one admirable reason to hire veterans, we here at Hire a Hero have espoused both the tangible and intangible skills that these men and women bring to the civilian workforce. However, there is yet another reason to hire veterans--there are significant cost benefits associated with hiring veterans.

1. Tax Benefits to Hiring Veterans

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which provided for the temporary extension of more than 50 tax breaks, most of which expired at the end of 2013. The bill was retroactive and covered the entire 2014 tax year. Included in these extenders was an extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) tax credit, which expired on December 31, 2013. Through this bill, WOTC was retroactively put in place through 2014, for eligible veteran employees who began work before January 1, 2015. This credit has obviously expired for now, but it could likely be extended again.

WOTC contains provisions for both the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring qualified unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which provides credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities to up to $9,600. Learn more about Federal Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans.

There are also other programs which offer state and local tax benefits to hiring veterans in addition to federal credits. For example, Utah has the Veteran Employment Tax Credit, which provides tax credits for the first year beginning at $200 per month, not to exceed $2,400 per year and increases the second year to $400 per month, not to exceed $4,800 per year, for each veteran hired. Learn more about additional state tax credits for hiring veterans, and check with your state Department of Labor to learn about the tax benefits of hiring veterans in your state.

2. Relocation Cost Savings

Each branch of the military pays the final relocation costs for its service members, resulting in several thousand dollars in cost savings per hire. The military will also pay for the veteran to put their belongings into storage for up to a full year at no cost, which is especially useful if a training program is required in a different location than where the candidate will ultimately work.

3. Lower Health Care Premiums

Physical fitness is of great importance in the military, and generally speaking, veterans are in good physical condition. This translates into cost savings for employers on health premiums and claims filed by veterans. Retired veterans (who are young as 37) are eligible to receive free health care coverage for life through TRICARE, the military's health care program, as well as reduced cost for their family members. In addition, all separated military members have at least basic eligibility to use the Veterans Administration system for qualified medical issues. Many military reservists choose to use a TRICARE supplement, rather than utilizing their employer's plan.

4. Workplace Safety Cost Reductions

It is estimated that workforce safety injuries cost American industry over $18.3 billion annually. Military professionals are trained to work efficiently while physically overexerted and with quick, precise reactions. Safety is paramount in the military and veterans bring this focus with them to the civilian workforce.

There are many benefits to hiring military professionals. Learn more about the Advantage of choosing Orion as your military employment recruiter.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Companies Hire Veterans through On-Site Hiring Events

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for hiring military candidates.  Each company that appreciates the talent that recruiting veterans can bring has individual hiring needs for which customized solutions are the answer. You may have heard of Hiring Conferences, Direct Submittal, and even Distinguished Candidate Conferences, but you may not be familiar with a Mini-Conference®.

Through collaborative planning and on-site exposure to your business, Orion Account Executives may recommend a Mini-Conference® for clients with multiple and high-volume recruiting needs. There is no faster or more efficient way to fill multiple positions with military talent. So what are the features of this unique and effective recruiting solution?
  • Private, on-site hiring events
  • Veteran candidates brought to your company by Orion’s national network of recruiters.
  • Complete all presentations, interviews and testing in just one day, with no travel involved if done onsite
  • Average hire rate from these events is 70%, with cycle time to hire of less than 5 days.
When companies approach Orion in the hopes of meeting with and interviewing high-caliber, talented individuals seeking a challenging and rewarding career, Mini-Conferences® prove to be beneficial and time saving. Candidates are thoroughly screened and briefed on your organization and the specific positions for which you are recruiting. For managers whose days are filled with activities other than recruiting, a Mini-Conference® serves as a one-stop shop for some of the best military talent Orion has to offer for a variety of positions.

Click here to learn more about how your company can host a Mini-Conference®.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Austin Area Businesses Join with Fort Hood to Help Soldiers Transition

According to a recent News OK article, about 11,000 soldiers transition into civilian life out of Fort Hood every year. And many may not be prepared to find a civilian career. That is until now thanks to Col. Matt Elledge’s meeting with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in which he pitched the creation of a program that will place soldiers into intensive, 13-week fellowship programs with local companies. Called the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy, Elledge explains "If we can get the transitioning soldier into a company … they'll like what that soldier brings to the table."

Austin-based Mike Starich, CEO of Orion International, weighed in on the issue and explained that soldiers with technical and management skills often fare better as they transition. According to Starich, Oftentimes, those without directly translatable skills may “see these jobs at the Wal-Marts of the world or retail jobs as lower paying and they say, 'I'm better off taking the GI Bill and going to school or taking unemployment.'"

To overcome this gap, Elledge is calling for the military to get better at helping corporate America understand what soldiers bring to the table. And, according to News OK article, companies in Central Texas are listening. He has helped establish joint programs with the Austin chamber, work with several job-training organizations and bring local business leaders on post for job fairs and "a day in the life of a soldier" events.

Soldiers with fewer key skills might attend multiple job fairs on base and find few, good-paying options available to them. For these soldiers, without hard technical skills, there are an increasing number of options ranging from Austin Community College and Skillpoint Alliance. "There's a broad spectrum of support out there," concludes Starich. "But it all boils down to giving the person the skill sets to get a decent-paying job they'll be motivated to take instead of just accepting."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Orion's Military Talent: On Time; On Target [INFOGRAPHIC]

Orion is the nation's leading provider of best-in-class Military Talent Programs which enable organizations to attract, hire, develop, and retain Military Talent. We are the subject matter experts in military hiring, and we have invested 24+ years in building and developing far-reaching networks into the military community. Rather than just providing the talent, we provide the right match, leading to an On Target hire -- the best possible fit for each candidate and client company we represent.

Want to know more about the veteran candidates we represent? Check out the infographic below or click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Warrior Hike Founder and Executive Director of Sean Gobin Named 2015 CNN Hero

CNN recently released their list of 2015 CNN Heroes, one of whom is Sean Gobin, Founder and Executive Director of Warrior Hike. Sean’s organization supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America’s National Scenic Trails. CNN Heroes are selected because they represent the difference one person can make.

Orion is proud to have partnered with Warrior Hike last year for our Veteran Low to High Challenge, through which we raised more than $133,000 for our three partner veterans organizations, including Warrior Hike. We have joined with them again this year for the 2nd Annual Patriot Challenge 5K, which will be held in Cary, NC, on September 26, 2015.

Click here to learn more about 2015 CNN Hero Sean Gobin and Warrior Hike.