Earlier this year, TIME Magazine featured a cover story about the new "greatest generation" — returning veterans who acquired unique skills by serving in our recent overseas conflicts. Due to the nature of the combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, members of the military have had to employ a more direct, more personal and more community- and project-based approach, which has literally forced the acquisition of new leadership, negotiation and problem-solving skills. Those attributes — and some others outlined below — make returning veterans excellent candidates for positions in a variety of companies and organizations.
These are tough times requiring determination and resilience. Few people possess as much resilience as veterans. As a result of their training, they can adjust to changing conditions, meet challenges with confidence and problem solve a variety of situations. In addition, their values of honor, camaraderie, teamwork and integrity are important in today's "what's in it for me" environment.
By virtue of their experience, veterans are good planners. Whether setting up a supply depot or engaging the enemy or designing a training program for your employees, members of the military achieve the desired outcomes through a variety of carefully designed and implemented plans. They can bring that skill to your organization as well.
Running a business requires making tough choices, particularly these days when resources are slim and competition is growing. Military personnel make tough calls every day. They learn to live with the outcomes of those choices, and they learn how to refine their decision-making abilities from their experiences. That's invaluable when remaining agile and responsive sometimes means having to make adjustments later.
Depending on their assignment and locations, veterans will have been introduced to a variety of different people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs and customs. The ability to work well with a team composed of different people will serve your company well regardless of the role a veteran assumes.
Finally, veterans are accustomed to accomplishing their goals with limited resources. In many cases, they have had to "make do" with less or find a work-around for a specific problem. If you are watching every penny in your organization, someone skilled in doing more with less may be just what you need to accomplish your goals.
If you put all of these attributes together, you'd have a great candidate for your position.
And as another benefit, the IRS recently released the information and necessary forms for employers to use in claiming the newly-expanded tax credit for hiring veterans. There is now more time to file the certification form for veterans hired on or after Nov. 22, 2011 and before May 22, 2012.
According to the IRS: "The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, enacted Nov. 21, 2011, provides an expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit to businesses that hire eligible unemployed veterans and for the first time also makes the credit available to certain tax-exempt organizations. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations. The amount of credit depends on a number of factors, including the length of the veteran's unemployment before hire, hours a veteran works and the amount of the first wages paid. Employers who hire veterans with service-related disabilities may be eligible for the maximum credit."
The IRS further states that the employer has until June 19, 2012, to complete and file this newly revised form for veterans hired on or after Nov. 22, 2011, and before May 22, 2012. The 28-day rule will again apply to eligible veterans hired on or after May 22, 2012. Employers can transmit the form electronically or via fax.
(More information and links to tax forms can be found in last month's newsletter article on claiming expanded veterans tax credit.)
This story was featured in the March 2012 newsletter