At AgCareers.com, we feel very strongly about promoting and celebrating the hiring of military veterans and professionals in farm organizations. It is likely you feel the same, as the practice of actively recruiting and hiring military professionals and veterans returns the favor of their service to their country.
However, findings from a 2016 survey by AgCareers.com reveal that veterans do not feel welcome at all times in the industry. Here are some suggestions to create a more military-friendly workplace environment:
- Understand skills and capabilities of veterans. Approximately 70% of military professionals and veterans working in agriculture wish their employers better understood their capabilities, according to the AgCareers.com Veterans & Military Professionals in the Agricultural Workplace survey report. While our top-of-mind thinking leads us to believe that military veterans and professionals spent their time of service training and performing active duty, they also had real jobs that served real functions, equating to a number of valuable skills and qualities gained during their service. Take it from the veterans: according to survey participants, leadership, accountability, and discipline were the top characteristics they felt they bring to the workplace.
- Relate & collaborate. According to the same survey, more than 50% of military respondents said they felt their supervisors or peers had a difficult time relating to them. Create an atmosphere of understanding for military veterans and professionals entering the agricultural workforce. They make great team members and leaders, so position them in a place where they are able to thrive, collaborate, participate, and implement their military experience in a relevant way.
- Support. Financial support during military leave or active duty is not possible for all organizations. The AgCareers.com survey showed that just 30% of participating companies offered any kind of financial support to their military employees while fulfilling duty. However, it’s possible to provide support in other ways. Show support for your military employee’s family by implementing a program to hire military spouses or actively invite military family members to company events. Even while away, this shows a military employee that they are valued and have a place in your organization.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.