By Sean Bielat, Endeavor Robotics CEO
America is built on the sacrifices made by those who have served in uniform over the last 240-plus years. Millions of men and women who have devoted years of their lives to defending our country, whether close to home or in distant lands.
When they’ve completed their service, most veterans enter the civilian workforce. Many struggle with how to make the transition from military training and experience to today’s corporate culture. New roles, unfamiliar organizational structures, and different ways of communicating are just some of the challenges that can confront veterans when making the adjustment to work life outside the uniform. An even greater challenge arises when employers fail to adequately value a military background compared to other professional experience.
We owe it to our veterans to give them every chance possible.
There are more than 20 million veterans in the U.S. right now, including over four million who served in the Gulf War post-9/11. Close to 200,000 vets transition out of the U.S. military each year. That’s a huge and growing talent pool for prospective employers.
The benefits for companies hiring veterans are proven and many. Vets are trained to be organized and disciplined. They’re the ultimate team players, teamwork being the bedrock on which military operations and success are built. Service personnel are imbued with a strong work ethic, a sense of duty and commitment to getting the job done — or “completing the mission,” in military terms. Veterans typically possess a variety of cross-functional skills — from computer, IT and systems expertise to hands-on experience in engineering and logistics. Vets usually have much deeper leadership experience than their private sector peers. They’re creative problem-solvers. They’ve been taught to work with people of different skill-sets to accomplish a task, and to follow through on assignments even under great stress.
Don’t those sounds like the kind of qualities you would want in a new employee?
“Veterans are trained to be organized and disciplined. They’re the ultimate team players … Vets typically have much deeper leadership experience than their private sector peers. They’re creative problem-solvers. They’ve been taught to work with people of different skill-sets to accomplish a task, and to follow through on assignments even under great stress. Don’t those sound like qualities you want in a new employee.”
Some of the greatest strengths a veteran can bring to your workplace include adaptability, long identified as a key trait of successful executives, and a global perspective. Many veterans have years of experience working with international teams — a major value-add in today’s global economy. Of course, many vets also have high-level security clearances, making them an immediate asset to employers in the defense industry and other government contractors.
At Endeavor Robotics, roughly 20 percent of our workforce is composed of veterans. As a veteran of the Marine Corps, I have a strong appreciation for the contributions veterans can make, and as CEO of Endeavor, I’ve witnessed the unparalleled work ethic our veteran employees bring to the job. I see them spend long days, nights and weekends helping our team deliver for our customers, designing and supporting ground robots our military and first responders use to keep a safe distance during bomb disposal and other dangerous missions. They inspire me and their Endeavor co-workers every day.
Studies have shown hiring veterans is “good citizenship and good business.” Our military is one of the most respected and trusted institutions in the United States, so there’s little downside for companies to be associated with it. In fact, companies usually gain substantial goodwill from customers when they commit to hiring more vets. As one insurance company executive said, recruiting veterans enhances her firm’s brand value and represents “the best way to say ‘thank you’ to the people who risked their lives for us.”
Hiring a veteran can give you a dedicated worker with the job skills, teamwork, and leadership qualities your company needs to thrive. Someone who can serve as a role model and mentor for other employees, with intensive real-world training, or even battle-proven experience few can match.
As we recognize Veteran’s Day (and the Marine Corps birthday on Nov. 10), please consider talking with a vet about job openings at your organization. Given the sacrifices they’ve made for us, it’s the least we can do for them.
Sean Bielat is CEO of Endeavor Robotics Inc. of Chelmsford and is a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
This article first appeared as an op-ed in the Boston Business Journal, Nov. 11, 2018.