Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Military Talent Programs, Part 1: How to Attract, Hire, Develop and Retain Top Military Talent

With more than 184,000 Veterans transitioning from service each year, the U.S. Military is a continually renewing source from which to hire top talent. However, accessing, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining this talent is not simple. 

The companies with the most success leveraging veterans in their organizations are those that employ a Military Talent Program, which focuses on delivering consistent quality and quantity of candidates, at a lower cost per hire, while incorporating Brand Marketing, Training, and Consulting. Companies that develop Military Talent Programs signal to possible employees and other companies that they have aligned decision makers, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, and Operations Managers with the goal of hiring military talent. In Part 1 of this article, we look at the four steps of a successful Military Talent Program.

Orion International is the only company to offer a full-cycle Strategic Military Program that addresses all phases of the process, from candidate attraction and recruiting, through on-boarding, integration, and retention. As more and more companies look to hire veterans, many are turning to Orion’s customized Military Talent Programs. We have found these programs to be ideally suited for those clients looking to hire for specific projects, those new to hiring military, and those looking to refine or expand an existing program. 

In order for Military Talent Programs as defined above to be successful, they must be full-cycle. Measurable goals and objectives must be set and an understanding of military talent cultivated. And, once a program is created, a focused marketing and brand management campaign should be in place to attract qualified veterans. Finally, there should be a thorough on-boarding process to retain the newly-hired veterans.

Step 1: Attract

One major advantage to a Military Talent Program through Orion is that our proprietary sourcing strategy allows employers access to a unique pool of Military Talent that is not available through other sources, thus helping to fulfill Step 1 of a Military Talent Program: Attracting Veterans. Greater than 60% of our candidates cannot be found on any job board, via job fairs, nor can they be accessed through traditional advertising and recruiting methods, offering a unique candidate pool to which your competition may not have access.  Orion positions our clients as an Employer of Choice for Military Talent, and develop a pipeline of talent specifically for your hiring needs.

Step 2: Hire

It is important to educate applicable Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, and other key stakeholders, and gain Hiring Manager buy-in to ensure program success. Orion does this through accredited training and consulting in the areas of Military Skills Translation, Best Practices in Military Hiring, Unique Interview Considerations for Military Hiring, Military Hiring Strategy and Development, Military Talent Program Design, Development, and Implementation, and Program Sustainment.

Step 3: Develop

Military Talent Programs should be a metrics-driven process to ensure continuous quality and improvement, backed by measurable results. Orion provides guidance on benchmark metrics consistent with our Best Practices in Military Hiring guidelines, and works with your team to determine the Key Performance Indicators that will accurately measure success for your unique Military Talent Program.

Step 4: Retain

Optimization of a Military Hiring Plan will not occur without a thorough on-boarding process for newly recruited veterans. Veteran retention depends on initiatives like the creation of networking opportunities, mentorship programs, Veterans Employee Resource Groups (Veterans ERG), organization-wide Military Employee Referral Programs, and Leadership Development Programs.

Each of the four steps outlined above are imperative for a Military Talent Program to function properly. First, you have to attract the right military candidates through targeted marketing. And, once you have access to the appropriate candidates, you have to educate your hiring staff and managers on military skills translation to ensure that a great potential employee is not overlooked. As with any business initiative, you need metrics to tell you what you're doing well and how you can improve. Finally, you need to have programs in place to not only onboard your military employees, but also cultivate them.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of this article, which covers two leading companies and how they have used Military Talent Programs to stay on top. To learn more about how you can implement a customized, full-cycle Military Talent Program, click here

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