Tag Archive for 'workforce'

Why Recruit Veterans

Beyond Workforce Development, Workforce Solutions

by Julie Davis,

Association of Equipment Manufacturers Director of Work Force Development.

Are you tired yet of pulling from the same employment pool? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to explore the new world of veteran recruitment. If you think that you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for you or there is no one to recruit in your area, then you simply aren’t up to date. 

Why recruit Veterans?

Many companies find veterans to be more productive employees with lower turnover rates when compared to their nonveteran counterparts. Additionally, their past military background can give veterans distinctive capabilities and perspectives that can add insight and diversity to your team’s problem solving. Employers can also qualify for up to $10,000 in federal tax credits per veteran. 

There are multiple state and federal organizations that exist to connect employers with veterans. Many of them work with veterans before they leave active duty to ensure they have skills that can plug immediately into the workforce. Furthermore, just because you may not have a military base located near you is no longer a reason to exclude veterans from your search. Organizations looking to place veterans into employment include working to get veterans back to their home states if that is what they are looking for. Taking a few extra steps could mean providing a veteran the opportunity to truly come home.

Veteran Retainment

Approximately 40 percent of veterans leave their first job out of the military within a year of being hired. The transition can be challenging but there is some common sense, yet very real ways that you can position your company to retain your veterans. 

First, define what your motivation is to hire veterans. Then identify what skills, attitudes and experience would benefit your organization the most. (If you are not sure, simply find your best current employee in that position and identify their skills, attitudes and experiences.) 

Decide what a successful veteran hiring program for your organization looks like. Are you looking for just one or is this going to become a regular program? 

Identify the service branches, ranks and occupational specialties you might like to target. Don’t know? That’s okay because there’s multiple ways to connect. You could reach out to your state or local Veteran’ office and talk with someone or here are some great website you can connect with:

Understand the basics
(A brief introduction to military workplace culture)  
(Common Terms) 

Difference between the branches 

Difference between officer and enlisted ranks 

Civilian to Military Occupation Translator

While building your veteran’s program, don’t forget to tap into your secret weapon – any veterans you are currently employing. Get their thoughts about skills and areas of service that might be a good fit. Don’t forget to ask them what about working for your organization might appeal to a veteran. After all, they have stayed with you! 

There are multiple employment organizations that will connect you with veterans. A few of my favorite include:

Hero’s MAKE America (Provides 10 weeks accelerated skills training for manufacturing)http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Initiatives/Military-and-Veterans/Heroes-MAKE-America/Heroes-MAKE-America.aspx 

Hire a Hero

Bradley-Morris, Inc. (Specifically for Skilled Technicians)

Orian Talent

Lastly, don’t forget that to retain your veteran, you may want to consider having some supports in place to make their transition smooth. Connect them to existing veterans in your workplace, let them know about opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and consider engaging current veterans in creating the program to ensure its effectiveness. 

Veterans who are coming out of service where they have worked with heavy equipment may be a perfect fit for the construction, agriculture, mining, utility or forestry industry sectors. Don’t let taking a few extra steps keep you from your next best hire.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. Helps to Develop Industry Workforce with Youth Outreach

AEM Reports on 3 Keys to Closing the Construction Skills Gap

3 Keys to Close the Construction Skills Gap

In the U.S., and globally, skilled jobs are the hardest to fill, according to Manpower Group.

That’s no surprise to construction companies. However, if it’s difficult now, what can contractors expect to deal with a decade from now?

Companies unwilling or unable to effectively attract, engage and retain their workforce will pay the consequences in the not-so-distant future (a future that can include going out of business).

“The onus is on companies now to actively engage employees,” says Ethan Martin, consultant and executive coach at Integrated Leadership Systems. “If employees don’t like it somewhere, they’ll just leave.”

Martin shared action steps for contractors through the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 initiative (http://www.conexpoconagg.com/subscribe/).

1. Make an Attitude Adjustment

Successfully tackling workforce engagement necessitates a shift in both attitude and strategy for many construction companies.

“Employees are changing, the world and the market is changing. (Companies) have to be willing to face that reality, and it’s not for better or for worse, it’s just different,” says Martin.

Co-workers talking at construction site with bulldozer behind them

Successful workforce engagement activities are interconnected with other organizational aspects.

“As long as workforce engagement is viewed as something separate, it becomes the uninteresting piece, or something like a task or a responsibility, rather than just being incorporated into what’s being done,” says Martin.

2. Tomorrow Is Too Late: Commit the Time and Resources Now

Companies often cite a lack of time and resources as a reason why they fall short in employee engagement efforts.

Measurable progress takes time, and the majority of workforce engagement efforts do not yield results for years.

Martin relays that one organization he works with recently began reaching out to high school students and collaborating with local career centers; company leaders understand they won’t see the fruits of their hard work for at least two to four years.

“However, this company is doing this now, so when the lack of skilled labor is even more of an issue in the future, it will have built up its reputation as the go-to employer in the area,” Martin notes.

Cost concerns serve as another common reason for not engaging employees consistently and effectively. However, contractors must recognize employee investment as being critical to organizational success.

“Too many companies fear investment in current employees or future employees, even to the point where they actually end up losing them,” says Martin. “The investment, as it turns out, would have cost them less than replacing the employee.”

3. Hire for Character First

Much is made about attracting the workforce of tomorrow. Construction companies looking to engage with young people need to explain better the value of a career in the skilled trades.

Convey the significance of the work they’re doing, why it matters. “It puts the focus back on the mission, and millennials want to make a difference,” says Martin.

If there is one piece of advice Martin would give a construction contractor when looking to hire a young worker is hire for character.

“The way we find and train people, you can teach anyone to do anything if he or she has good character,” says Martin. “And if the good-character employee actually moves on at some point, you won’t be left in the lurch because the person won’t just up and leave in the middle of a big project.”

A female construction worker stands behind a builder’s level on a building site .Behind her a co-worker walks across the development .

The construction industry will continue to evolve, and the needs of contractors will change with it. As a result, it is critical for organizations to be able to connect with the workforce of tomorrow, inspire them to strongly consider a career as a skilled worker and, perhaps most importantly, develop them into qualified employees.

Learn more about industry trends and technologies through AEM’sCONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 initiative (https://www.conexpoconagg.com/subscribe/).