Hiring Veterans with Disabilities – Separating Myths from Facts
As I travel across the country urging corporations and agencies to recruit and hire veterans with disabilities as part of my efforts to expand disability employment, it is appalling that so many pervasive misconceptions still exist. These are men and women who have fought for our freedom without knowing many of us personally. They serve out of a sense of duty, patriotism, and love for their country and its ideals. It is our moral and business responsibility to outreach to, and recruit, these job seekers for competitive careers. Veterans deserve the opportunity to live every part of the American dream they fought so hard to preserve.
Hiring veterans, including veterans with disabilities, seems like an activity where employers would easily see business value and take action. However, many common myths have emerged that prevent companies from placing a priority on the employment of veterans with disabilities.
- Fear: Some media and Hollywood images have depicted veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as volatile and dangerous to hire. When addressing these media-induced fears, remind hiring managers in the organization that there are already employees at the company or agency with PTSD. Anyone that has survived or witnessed a tragic event may live with PTSD. Those employees are just not disclosing their disabilities. Bender Consulting Services has found employment for several veterans with PTSD and they are strong performers.
- Ignorance: Companies and agencies may not understand service-connected disabilities such as PTSD or traumatic brain injury (TBI). For example, some may incorrectly believe that living with PTSD makes it impossible to handle stress. Prepare and educate staff on the truth about these important topics.
- Transferring Skills: Companies and agencies expect veterans to have the exact skills they need as soon as they separate from service. While many veterans have technology training, logic, communication expertise, and other skills that can be easily applied to the business world, those skills have been applied for military service up to this point. Explain to the talent capture group which military skills can be transferred to open positions and how those skills can be leveraged in the current environment.
The Business Value of Hiring Veterans with Disabilities
Companies do not realize the value left on the table when they do not hire veterans with disabilities.
- Demonstrating Leadership: Veterans with disabilities have strong leadership and decision-making skills.
- Acting as a Team Player: Veterans with disabilities live or die as a result of understanding the importance of being a team player. The strong teamwork necessary in military service will exceed one of the key skills necessary to succeed in business.
- Working under Pressure: Combat is high pressure and requires being on alert at all times. Men and women who perform well in these conditions will perform at the highest levels under stress at work.
- Perseverance: Veterans with disabilities have incredible perseverance. They fought for our country, sustained an injury, and want to return to work. This calls for incredible determination. This is the “no quit” attitude that every company wants to find in a future employee.
- Respect: Veterans with disabilities respect authority as a result of their training. Companies and agencies want employees who have respect without entitlement.
- Integrity: Veterans fought for our freedom and many have returned with a disability. They did not go back on their promise. There is no price tag on integrity. Nothing else listed matters without integrity.
Serving our country has brought back men and women with visible and hidden disabilities. These professionals are anxious to put their skills to work. Bender is committed to aligning our customers with veterans with disabilities who wish to make contributions in the workforce here at home.
Make a difference. Hire a veteran with a disability and provide them with freedom through employment—After all, they fought for your freedom.