Hiring, Retaining Veterans Is Focus of SHRM Foundation-NAVSO Project

By SHRM Online staff February 24, 2017
Hiring, Retaining Veterans Is Focus of SHRM Foundation-NAVSO Project

The SHRM Foundation and the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO) have launched a multiyear research project to find ways to support organizations in hiring and retaining military veterans at the local and national levels.

The first year of the project—Integrating and Engaging Veterans in the Workforce—will focus on creating resources for employers that will be rolled out to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members and chapters sometime next year, said Beth McFarland, programs director for the SHRM Foundation, in a news release.

"SHRM members represent about 100,000 companies," said Chris Ford, NAVSO CEO, in a news release. "If we could give them very pragmatic tools and research to help make a business case for hiring veterans, and each hires one veteran, then we've hired 100,000 veterans."

The unemployment rate for veterans is expected to be 4.5 percent in 2017, below the 5 percent jobless rate for nonveterans, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

However, 37 percent of 708veterans who were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks think hiring managers devalue their military experience, SHRM Online reported in November 2016. Findings are based on a study that iCIMS—a provider of applicant tracking systems and recruiting software—conducted with RecruitMilitary—a subsidiary of Bradley-Morris, the largest military-focused recruiting company in the U.S.

Helping Employers, Helping Veterans

The SHRM-NAVSO project kicked off Feb. 1 with a summit at SHRM headquarters in Alexandria, Va., where participants:

  • Identified successful research-based practices on hiring and retaining veterans. 
  • Identified ways that SHRM chapters and state councils can help to employ and retain veterans. 
  • Discussed ways to make a business case for hiring veterans. 
  • Determined which veteran hiring and retention programs need research to validate their effectiveness.

Participants are now analyzing data from the summit, according to Ford. He said the project could include creating an online information portal and a series of webinars to educate employers on hiring veterans.

The information that will be available to employers, Ford said, will help "build a better business case for hiring veterans."

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Becoming a Military-Ready Employer]

In addition to helping employers find qualified veterans, the project will focus on how to move veterans through the hiring process and integrate them into the workforce. Mark Schmit, the SHRM Foundation's executive director, noted the role human resource professionals can play.

"HR practitioners are uniquely skilled to ensure veterans are productively employed and integrated into the workforce in a way that serves both them and their families, as well as the organizations employing them," Schmit said in a news release.

SHRM has a history of working on behalf of veterans. In 2012, SHRM partnered with the White House on a military family leave initiative. The SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition and Talent Management Conference have featured sessions focused on recruiting and hiring veterans, and SHRM chapters and state councils have created award-winning programs that focus on veterans. SHRM online resources include a Military Employment Resource Page.

About 30 organizations have said they want to be involved in the research project, according to McFarland. Those interested in participating may contact Dorothy Mebane, programs manager at the SHRM Foundation

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