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Supporting Veterans in the Workplace

Today’s post comes to us from the Executive Director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Today throughout the United States, we observe Veterans Day to honor the millions of individuals who have served the country across the U.S. Armed Forces. In France, the country celebrates Armistice Day, which signaled the end of World War I in 1918, while others celebrate Remembrance Day to pay their respects to service members around the world.

To all service members, we salute you and we sincerely thank you for your service and sacrifice. We also recognize and thank every military spouse and family member who has endured many sacrifices through their unyielding support.

Returning to civilian life brings with it an entirely new set of challenges. Millions of veterans face mental health struggles and have challenges adapting their skills to new roles in the workplace or difficulties finding jobs at all. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans increased to 7.3% in 2020.

Indeed, many of the same workforce impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect veterans exponentially. As we work collectively to adjust our current practices and implement new programs to better serve our employees throughout the pandemic, we must continue to support our veterans in the workplace.

That starts with active recruitment. Career-training programs such as Onward to Opportunity help match military talent and their families to meaningful employment, with partnering companies gaining access to pre-screened military talent from across the country to locate qualified candidates for open positions.

Like with any new hire, the most critical moments occur within the first 30, 60, and 90 days of an employee joining the company. It’s imperative that organizations have resources in place that help ensure belonging and set employees up for long-term success.

I’m proud to share that UKG offers an entire support community for veterans, their families, and friends. When they join the company, veterans are immediately welcomed into the UKG VETS Diversity Network, with a full care package, a thank-you letter from the network chair, and more information on the many helpful resources available to veterans and employees at UKG – from a robust Employee Assistance Program to industry-leading benefits (UKG also offers paid leave for active military service).

Throughout the year, UKG VETS also sponsors a number of charity campaigns and fundraisers to give back to veterans, as well as active service members, such as a letter-writing campaign for soldiers in Afghanistan and nominating a veterans-related charity to receive a donation from UKG VETS. The company also honors its more than 200 members globally with a week-long celebration of events in early November, which includes a paid holiday observance of Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in France.

Initiatives like these can go a long way in supporting the individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving their country and now bring that same level of commitment to serving your customers. On this day, and every single day of the year, we must never forget our veterans. We must continue to show our gratitude in meaningful ways and to respect, care for, and value all people, especially in the workplace.

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