Top reasons why hiring veterans is good for small business

By Jeremy Silverstein

America’s veterans make a huge sacrifice when they serve — one that isn’t always properly honored after they return to civilian life. In addition to the emotional difficulties many veterans face as they transition from their military service to everyday life, many of them experience trouble finding their place in society when their service ends. Having a job and contributing to a business is extremely important for helping veterans ease themselves back into civilian life. However, a disproportionate number of veterans report having trouble finding work after they come home.

Veterans may have a hard time finding work after they return home from their service for a number of reasons. In many cases, employers may not make a concerted effort to recruit and hire veterans. In fact, nearly 80 percent of American businesses don’t have programs designed to help them find and recruit veterans to fill positions within their organizations. In many other cases, employers may have misconceptions about veterans that prevent them from hiring qualified people with histories of service in the armed forces. They may be under the impression that veterans carry baggage with them — whether emotional issues or physical limitations — that would prevent them from being as productive as another candidate.

No matter what the reasons why veterans are passed over for jobs they are qualified to have, it does a disservice to employers as well as veterans. Hiring veterans can have noteworthy benefits for employers — especially small businesses. When small businesses make the effort to hire veterans returning home from military service, they not only help repay the enormous sacrifice these men and women have made for their country, but they also benefit from the many strong qualities veterans can bring to their work. Here are some of the best reasons why hiring veterans is a good idea for small businesses.

They’re highly trained and skilled

Today’s military is extremely sophisticated. Meaning, veterans often complete their service with specialized skills and training that put them far above other candidates. Their training often makes them ideally suited for in-demand positions in industries ranging from manufacturing to engineering to security. The rigorous training and specialization many modern military recruits undergo means they are perfect candidates for myriad positions that might otherwise be difficult for small businesses to fill.

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Small businesses in particular need employees who are good at working with a team and pulling together to achieve common goals. That describes veterans perfectly, as their military service has prepared them to work collaboratively with others and to have a clear understanding of their role on the team. For small businesses, having employees that work together like a well-oiled machine is a critical advantage, providing them with greater efficiency. Although their team-oriented mindset is one of their biggest strengths, veterans also benefit smaller employers because they tend to have a strong sense of personal responsibility, which is a major factor in their ability to work well with others.

They’re extremely reliable

Military service puts people through some of the most stressful experiences anyone can have. Those experiences can instill a powerful mindset of determination in veterans. Veterans often are characterized by their ability to think on their feet and exhibit calm under pressure. Those are extremely important qualities to have in the world of small business — where employees often have to juggle multiple responsibilities at the same time and handle stressful situations without losing their cool. Although many employers may be under the impression that most veterans return home with PTSD or other emotional difficulties, the truth is that the vast majority of veterans return home with clear minds and strong discipline.

They can help small businesses financially

Not only can the qualities veterans bring to small businesses help them succeed by meeting their goals, but they also can provide those businesses with other types of financial advantages. For example, small businesses that hire veterans may be eligible for tax incentives. Hiring certain percentages of military veterans also may make small businesses more desirable when it comes to winning government contracts, depending on the circumstances. The extensive training many service members receive in the military also may save small businesses time and resources that they would have spent on training programs in-house.

Our veterans have made a significant sacrifice to serve their country. In many ways, that debt can never be repaid in full. Yet by hiring qualified veterans to fill important positions within their organizations, small businesses can play a vital role in helping veterans re-adjust to their civilian lives. For small businesses, hiring veterans is more than a way to say thank you for your service — it’s a winning proposition for both sides.

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Jeremy Silverstein is the vice president of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Veteran Car Donations. During the five years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles.

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