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IVMF issues brief on compelling business case for hiring a veteran, reaching beyond public cliches

March 06, 2012

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-0177

Today, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University issued an employment brief titled “The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran: Beyond the Clichés." The publication draws from academic literature to suggest a robust, specific and compelling business case for hiring individuals with military background and experience.

“Resumés cannot adequately reflect the potential contribution of a prospective employee. This represents one of the most significant impediments to addressing the unemployment situation of veterans in this country,” says Mike Haynie, executive director of the IVMF and Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship at SU’s Whitman School of Management. “By themselves, generalizations based on leadership and mission focus—while certainly a powerful reason to employ a veteran—are not enough to empower U.S. employers to look beyond a candidate’s resumé and fully benefit from the knowledge, training and experiences represented by those who have served our country in the military.”

The brief issued by the IVMF details the results of a comprehensive review of academic literature from the fields of business, psychology, sociology and organizational behavior positioned to illustrate the foundational elements around which employers can formulate a research-informed logic for recruiting and developing military veterans in the civilian workforce. The business case is based on the following 10 research-informed propositions on the value of a veteran in a competitive business environment:

1. Veterans are entrepreneurial.
2. Veterans assume high levels of trust.
3. Veterans are adept at skills transfer across contexts/tasks.
4. Veterans have (and leverage) advanced technical training.
5. Veterans are comfortable/adept in discontinuous environments.
6. Veterans exhibit high levels of resiliency.
7. Veterans exhibit advanced team-building skills.
8. Veterans exhibit strong organizational commitment.
9. Veterans have (and leverage) cross-cultural experiences.
10. Veterans have experience/skill in diverse work settings.

The propositions were developed based on an analysis of academic research contrasting veterans/service members with non-veterans in the context of vocational tasks, skills and experiences; and a complementary review of research focused on specific abilities, attributes and characteristics required for success in a given work role, as compared to research focused on the abilities, attributes and characteristics descriptive (generally) of military veterans.

The scope of the IVMF review of the academic research was limited to the abilities, attributes and characteristics conferred on the individual veteran as a consequence of military service, as those attributes complement performance in a competitive business environment. The research did not include elements of the business case for hiring veterans that are externally/market driven, such as enhanced reputational value to the firm, customer/stakeholder legitimacy and other similar motivations.

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