08/28/2014 04:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

1.5 Million Opportunities to Strengthen Your Business


When it comes to addressing veteran unemployment, I have experienced both sides of the coin. I know what it is like to trade the structure and familiarity of the military lifestyle for the uncertainty of the civilian workforce. I also know what it is like to recruit, hire, and train new employees -- a transition process with its own challenges and frustrations. As a veteran, the talent of my fellow service members and their spouses is evident. Still, I understand that the process of hiring veterans, no matter the size of your business or budget, is not always as simple as it should be. But I promise you, we are worth it.

While I agree with many about the moral obligation our country has to take care of its veterans and support them as they reintegrate into society, good business is ultimately built on good strategy. And the business case for hiring veterans is a strong one. Groups like the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) Company and the Institute for Veterans and Military Spouses (IVMF) at Syracuse University have worked hard to back this call to action with data. The results speak for themselves.

Retention saves your company money.

Every new hire and every exit process costs resources and time that could be better used strengthening the company. A 2013 report from CEB found that, on average, veterans perform four percent higher than nonveteran employees and have three percent less turnover: "For a company of 1,000 employees and average revenue decreasing turnover by three percent saves $1.3 million annually and increasing performance by four percent improves revenue by $6 million."

Veterans drive the success of small businesses.

More than 60 percent of veterans are employed by small- and medium-sized businesses. Last year, Army veteran and technology leader, Taylor Justice, wrote in the Huffington Post, "Small businesses need employees who can do more with less, as they are usually cash-strapped and under-resourced. This is why hiring veterans is a strategic advantage, not just charity." In other words, they need someone who knows how to make contingency plans for contingency plans. That someone is going to be a veteran.

Recruiting veterans is more cost-effective than nonveterans.

Sometimes expensive HR consultants or online tools can scare some business owners away from hiring veterans. It can seem intimidating at best, and at worst, nearly impossible. As a small business owner myself, I understand the need for lean and inexpensive hiring initiatives. That's why I teamed up with Toyota and Hiring Our Heroes who are both committed to offering veteran and military spouse programs and tools for free. The amount of free knowledge and resources available is growing every day, shrinking the cost of recruiting and raising the value of the veteran.

Veterans are a brand your company wants.

The vast majority of Americans love our military and its veterans. A survey done by Cone Communications reported that 85 percent of Americans believe it's important for companies to support military nonprofits. According to the Pew Research Center, more than three-quarters of the country believe the military contributes "a lot" to society's wellbeing. When it comes to brand loyalty, employers who are viewed as veteran-friendly have a huge advantage over their competitors.

These lessons are just four of many. There is a strong case for businesses everywhere -- regardless of size, budget, or industry -- to increase their veteran recruitment efforts. In the next five years, up to 1.5 million service members will transition out of the military, ready and willing to work. Every single one of them represents an opportunity for your business to become stronger. Do not miss this chance to welcome these talented men and women into your workforce.