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5 Ways Your Onboarding Process Can Help Retain Servicemember Employees

Organizations invest in #recruiting and #training #veteranhires; yet, 50% of veterans who leave their first employer post-service do so within the first year. Today, we explore how organizations can #retain veterans through #onboarding #transition. Part 2 in this series will provide ideas for encouraging #retention post-onboarding. Today, we explore how organizations can support #veterans through #culturaltransition they face in the civilian world to maximize the workforce, optimize talent, and bring diverse voices to the workplace.

1. Be explicit about your Mission, Values, Goals, and Expectations. Servicemembers are mission-focused and motivated. During onboarding make sure that they understand how their work directly supports your mission. Similarly, live up to the values the organization espouses and outline clear goals and expectations for the employee. Detail what incentives or awards the employee might expect in recognition for accomplishing those goals. By explicitly detailing mission, values, goals, and expectations, organizations can provide much needed structure and expectations management for the employee, which can be challenging to navigate in a new civilian career.

2. Assign your Veteran hires a Benefits Navigator. Civilian sector benefits offer significant choice and autonomy. Especially when faced with new financial circumstances in the private sector, navigating the benefits decision-making process can feel overwhelming. Servicemembers may have unique needs, such as time off for Guard or Reserve Duty, and may not have the same experience in navigating benefits for their needs. Providing servicemembers with a benefits navigator can help them feel less overwhelmed, more included, and supported. External organizations, like Easterseals Veterans Staffing Network, can also serve as partners should your organization lack the expertise to provide this type of support.

3. Create or Outsource a Cultural Onboarding Orientation. The civilian world feels different when you’ve been away from it for a while – there are differences in attitude and cultural norms. These can be challenging to navigate as they are often unexpressed. Providing cultural orientation or coaching to support can help your new employee navigate your organization. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do this in-house, Nextpat offers a cultural orientation course that can be tailored to individual company cultures as well as #coaching for new employees.

4. Assign a Veteran Peer Mentor to the New Employee. A peer #mentor who has also served in the military can support the employee navigate the ins and outs of civilian life

at your company and beyond. A mentor has already been through the transition and can support your new hire. Veteran mentors can also help new employees navigate frustrations and find a way forward that retains their talent instead of seeking new employment elsewhere. If you don’t have other veterans at your organization, consider partnering with an organization like American Corporate Partners or the e-mentor program.

5. Support the Family. Military families may find it challenging to find a civilian friends

who understand their unique circumstances – including deployments, overseas postings, and readjustments. Creating family-friendly engagement opportunities or partnering with Veteran Family organizations, like BlueStar Families, can help families build relationships that support the employee’s transition. These relationships can encourage retention if the family and veteran feel included, recognized, and comfortable in their new situation.

Veterans bring unique skills, leadership experience, and diversity to organizations. After investing in their recruitment, make sure they don’t become disenchanted with the final mile. Your onboarding and #inclusiveculture are pre-requisites to ensuring greater retention of these talented employees.

If you need consulting services to develop an internal mentoring program, are interested in creating an onboarding cultural orientation program, or implementing a coaching program, please reach out to Nextpat at

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