Recruit Military-Experienced Talent with a Value Center Approach

One of the ways that exceptional organizations separate themselves from the pack is by adopting the concept of their recruiting function as a value center. Conversely, a not-so-forward-thinking company sees recruiting as a cost center activity. The evidence of this becomes apparent when they trumpet cost per hire as their leading metric: Recruit Military-Experienced Talent with a Value Center Approach“We’ve got our cost/hire down to $1200”. Congratulations, you’ve just won the race to the bottom.

The cost center mindset may save on the recruiting budget, but it bleeds over into operations with added expenses, the most notable of these being the cost of high turnover. There is a correlation between companies who have the lowest cost per hire and high turnover. When I see these cases, my thoughts go to what must be the opportunities lost, namely, the opportunity to hire someone amazing who raises the bar.

Companies with a value center focus understand the implications of the performance difference between an A Player and a C Player. These employers focus on the metric of ROH (Return On Hire). A good value center invests wisely in the resources that deliver the best talent. A Player-focused recruitment, like the tide, raises all ships: Operations benefits from a well-led team with little to no people distractions; culture improves because the A Players lead by example focusing on strategic goals; and bench strength increases which front loads succession planning.

When employers begin to recruit military-experienced talent with a value center approach, Bradley-Morris helps them focus on their ROMH (Return On Military Hire). Military personnel, particularly Junior Military Officers (JMOs), are force-ranked by their command and the #1 of 9 officer performs at a higher level that the #9 of 9 officer. Not every veteran is high performer; not every veteran is a fit for a key, demanding role. Bradley-Morris leverages best practices from two decades of lessons-learned to produce outstanding ROMH for our clients – it’s how we earn repeat business.

Is your companies recruiting function viewed as a cost or value center? What metrics is your team focused on? Are you taking a deep look into the people dynamics of your output?

Bobby Whitehouse

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Military Success Trait – Drive

Some are born with God-given talent and exceptional ability but most successful people must rely on another military success trait – Drive. Business leaders must develop an ability to push out of their comfort zone, to find a Military Success Trait - Driveway to deliver results for their customers and shareholders. Drive is how you get up again after being knocked down. Drive, most importantly, is what gets you to “the next level” in your career or life.

I recently read Bob Ravener’s book, “Up – The Difference Between Today and Tomorrow Is You“. Bob is one of the top civilian business leaders possessing a military background. In his book, the military success trait – drive – is a recurring theme. The military, along with his experiences in athletics, honed Bob’s drive, and he references that “drive” got him through his most formidable ordeals.

To excel in the military you must really want it. And top military candidates’ drive is honed by digging down deep and doing what is necessary to push through their trials. While differing military communities offer their own unique challenges, nearly all service members will attribute drive as an acquired skill that directly helped them achieve exceptional results in the service and after in their civilian careers. Passion inspires but drive gets the work done.

When “drive” is required in your business, military-experienced leaders will deliver.

Bobby Whitehouse

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OFCCP Veteran Benchmarking and Veteran Hiring Plans

So far in 2015, a frequently occurring discussion I am having with employers surrounds EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) Veteran and Disabled Veteran hiring benchmarks. The landmark change involves proactive veteran and disabled veteran hiring plans as well as several layers of self-identification for employees. I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m not an expert in all of the legal minutiae, so your in-house counsel/HR team should be consulted for details. However, I am deeply involved in veteran and disabled veteran hiring, so I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.

Veteran hiring plansThe OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs – Patricia A. Shiu, OFCCP Director is pictured at right) is the governing body that will be enforcing the benchmarks. A business that has over 50 employees, and contracts over $50,000.00 in government business (the “50/50” standard) is compelled to comply with OFCCP hiring benchmarks. Additionally, if your company does business with a federal contractor and qualifies per the 50/50 requirement, you are also subject to these rules.

The benchmarks are twofold and the first piece involves interviewing veteran and disabled veteran candidates. The big change is that companies are now required to record resources they have utilized to achieve the benchmarks of 7.2% veteran and 7% disabled employees. For Bradley-Morris existing clients, their proactive interviewing via BMI’s ConferenceHire®, TargetHire® and PowerHire® services already qualify as one of these resources.

The second piece involves employees, prospective and current, self-identifying as a veteran or disabled veteran. This is to be requested pre-employment and at regular intervals during an employee’s tenure with the company. For service-disabled veterans, especially those that are a percentage disabled that is not readily apparent, this is a 180 degree change from some of the past thinking to not self-identify. Bradley-Morris candidates are now briefed on this and thus encouraged to self-identify.

There are several resources on-line and I will share a couple of links below:

Also, Bradley-Morris, Inc. produces veteran hiring events at locations nationwide and can be a resource to help you meet the OFCCP benchmarks, no matter where the location is for which you are hiring.

I hope that this information assists your team in developing your AAP (Affirmative Action Plan) for veteran and disabled veteran hiring plans. Let me know if you have any questions, but more so, let me know what you can add to the conversation. In addition to being a “must do” for contractors and their suppliers, getting veterans interviewed will surely lead to more veteran hires as we at BMI have seen the interview as a key point in any successful veteran hiring program.

Bobby Whitehouse

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Military Success Trait – Feedback

Military-experienced personnel are accustomed to receiving feedback. The military has ingrained a continuous improvement mindset that takes advantage of reviewing and renewing. When they conduct an operation, evolution or a causality drill, they immediately review their performance.

Military Success Trait - FeedbackIt’s not to pass out blame but rather identify weaknesses in processes, equipment, execution, etc. The undisputed champion of innovation is trial and error. Being allowed to fail without being deemed a failure is part of a military leader’s DNA and another military success trait – feedback.

A comment I sometimes hear from recent military hires is that they are unsure how they are performing in their new civilian role. This is probably indicative of the civilian world, that is, there is not the same culture of feedback as there is in the military, certainly not to the same level of frequency and candor.

The interesting part is that this lack of feedback is not just one way. Frequently, the prior military personnel I’ve spoken with have identified an area of opportunity or weakness in their new civilian setting, but they haven’t experienced the occasion or invitation to communicate it. Their tendency is to hold on to the information as the “new guy”.

Other companies have a continuous improvement mindset as well as a culture of candid communication. They have likewise adopted performance-focused processes and procedures. They can work off of a roadmap but have a plan that is honed through trial and error. Military -experienced personnel deliver even more value, from day one, in this type of environment because it’s one they are used to.

Is your culture one of communication and improvement?

View all of the Military Success Traits series.

Bobby Whitehouse

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Military Success Trait – Culture

In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage, the author discusses how the customs and approach of a team, their culture, can be the competitive advantage in modern business. That is, marketing, strategy and execution are only as effective as the team that is doing the work. Dysfunctional teams lose their effectiveness in the noise of their bad culture.

Military Success Traits - CultureAs I assist military job seekers with finding civilian careers every day, I see a similar attribute as a military success trait – culture. Military leaders are taught to build winning teams. They do the best with who they have and motivate from the middle. They help B-players become A-players and keep A-players challenged. They accomplish this through value-focused leadership that builds performance through culture.

Culture is a force multiplier. Building a team that cares about each other and the accomplishment of their objectives – whether in business or in the military – will result in a group that outperforms perhaps more advantaged teams who don’t have the same culture strengths and get stuck in bureaucracy or turmoil.

Ever ask a veteran why they did what they did? Most did “it” for their teammates. That’s culture.

View all of the Military Success Traits series.

Bobby Whitehouse

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Why is military to civilian skills matching so important?

Turnover is expensive. The estimated costs vary but it is a business disrupter that most companies want to reduce. The most damaging turnover occurs in the employee’s first year when a company is heavily investing in the employee’s training and onboarding but the employee’s business impact is not fully realized.

military to civilian skills matchingSo when I learned about a negative report regarding veteran retention, it got my attention knowing that first year performance is so important to employers who are hirers of military.

According to the VetAdvisor/Syracuse University report, 65% of veterans are likely to leave their first civilian job in under two years. One reason mentioned is poor military to civilian skills matching.

Matching is a critical step, and not just for skill set – also for goals, growth, career path, purpose and culture – they are all part of the equation.

This is critical area of value for Bradley-Morris, Inc. clients as we utilize patented military to civilian skills matching software, combine it with more than two decades of real world position matching successes and back it up with a guarantee.

Whether you leverage your internal resources or a recruiter such as Bradley-Morris, successful military to civilian skills matching will produce a win-win offer for the candidate and a long-term high-performer for the employer.

Bobby Whitehouse

Image courtesy of James Petts

P.S. In contrast, what is your experience with civilian retention? This survey says that only 26% of green grads (arguably in a similar situation as military/veterans, i.e., in their initial civilian job) stay in their first job for a year. Perhaps the report about veteran retention warrants a positive spin instead? Let me know what you think.

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Military Success Traits – Communication

One of the first skills I was taught in the Navy was to repeat back all orders. It’s another of the military success traits – communication. Repeat back the order to insure the proper instruction or guidance was received. It works.

Military Success Traits - CommunicationThis is a military success trait that has served me well throughout my professional career. When I am talking with a client, I repeat back the information discussed and make sure that I clearly understand exactly what was said. It has proven to be invaluable.

With modern communication, email and voice mail, returning communication accurately and promptly is a stand-out quality – if for no other reason than to communicate that I received your message and I am addressing it.

Alas, this is not a common trait in the workforce today. Many people do not return emails or calls unless it is important to them. Or they assume that the message was received and go on. Or they are so distracted by peers, web sites, phone calls, apps, etc., that they totally miss it. This can be a costly mistake. One of the best parts of working with military-experienced talent is that they understand the importance of good communication.

How important is communication in your organization?

Bobby Whitehouse

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Military Success Traits – Discipline

In this post, I’d like to discuss one of the most well-known military success traits – discipline. A disciplined-mind is goal-focused, organized and Military Success Traits – Disciplineable to “nug through” difficult tasks. A disciplined body is healthy, fit and ready to get to work. Developing a disciplined mind and body isn’t exclusive to the military, but the military will throw you into the deep end of the discipline pool.

Further, the military success trait of discipline is a core leadership quality. Being the example of decorum, character and personal appearance are the qualities that lead to promotions in the military as well as at most companies. As business leaders look to their companies’ future and seek to build bench strength with the next generation of leaders, discipline may not be an obvious category to prioritize, but rest assured is is at the root of several other desired virtues.

Jack Welch’s GE, the best known “leadership company”, elevated leaders based on their 4 E’s and a P – Energy, Energizing Others, Edge, Execution and Passion – all discipline-based qualities. Does your business value discipline?

Bobby Whitehouse

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5 Tips from World Class Teams for Recruiting Military

As the days of summer begin to wane, leaves will soon drop from the trees in the fall and the seasons will change. A sure sign of the new hiring season is the competitiveness around employment offers and the increase of employers seeking hiring assistance. The war for talent is 5 tips from world class teams for recruiting militaryheating up. If you are not yet seeing it rest assured it is coming. If you are truly committed to hiring top talent, it is time to play to win. Here are 5 tips from world class teams for recruiting military.

1). Bring your hiring manager into the interview process early. “A”-players are ready to get down to business and are not going to have an “A”-impression if facing a cumbersome process of multi-level interviews stretching over weeks. Quickly define the challenges of the position, match skills and get the hiring manager into the conversation quickly as part of the initial interview. Some hiring managers get this intuitively, and they have an advantage over HR recruiters who need to convince their decision maker to invest in some talk time up front.

2). Define a career plan for your top performers. “A”-players understand that any deal is pending on their delivering top performance once in the job. We are coming out of a “season” of under promising. It is time to let your top talent know where they are needed long term. Most companies are in a serious need of middle-managers and are sitting on an average of 25% upcoming retirement. Have a plan to verbalize a career ladder for your top recruits or risk losing them to another organization that does.

3). WOO (Win Over Others) involved in their decision. “A”-players are decisive, but it never hurts to win over the entire family. Especially if they are relocating to your area. Have them all out for a tour. While the candidate is interviewing, have a local realtor show the family around town. Have dinner with spouses. It helps you learn a lot about them as well as build a stronger bond. And it helps to have the entire family onboard with the decision.

4). Be decisive on offers. If the interview went well have an offer ready to go before your targeted job seeker leaves, even if it’s a verbal offer with a hand shake. One of my favorite clients has the candidates meet with the CEO at the end of their interview day. If they made it to this meeting, the job seeker is getting an offer. As you might expect, the CEO’s close ratio is through the roof.

5). Tap your talent network. Since 2001, I have nurtured a network of exceptional military-experienced talent that I have been fortunate enough to place in Corporate America. In addition to the great friendships and their insights into military-to-civilian transition, these men and women are my go-to resource for referrals. They deliver countless “A”-players to Bradley-Morris.

The season is changing and some would argue that we are already in an employee’s market. Unemployment numbers are going down and job postings are on the rise. Candidates are getting multiple offers, and the salaries and perks are increasing. Offers declined are also up. Are you and your team ready for the new hiring season?

Bobby Whitehouse

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Where do top performing military job seekers come from?

It was so exciting to attend my daughter’s first High School academic achievement function. As a current Freshman, she received her academic letter Where do top performing military job seekers come from?signifying honor roll achievement. I noticed as the Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors were acknowledged, the group shrank significantly – indicating how difficult it is to sustain this type of performance. My daughter has her work cut out for her!

I also noted when the appointments to West Point and the Air Force Academy were recognized. There were three, and these Seniors received several additional top academic honors. They were some of the few that were able to sustain their scholastic record – academic high school “Rock Stars” going to the U.S. Service Academies. When employers ask me, “Where do top performing military job seekers come from?“, it’s at high schools like this one. I’m not sure I had connected the dots quite like this before.

We describe military-experienced talent as the Best and Brightest, Blue Chip and Top-Performing. The truth is that these selectees are in the top 5%, academics and athletics, of our communities’ high schools. Employers who are committed to the business benefits of hiring top performing military job seekers are reaching this caliber of talent regularly.

Bobby Whitehouse

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