Companies across the United States are stepping up to hire qualified veterans who have transitioned out of military service. These firms, both large and small, recognize the talents of those who have served and appreciate them as civic assets with much more to contribute. Some companies, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, are going the extra mile by providing support for military hires after they come on board as company employees. I talked about this and related military support activities with Booz Allen Senior Associate, Pamela Hardy:
VSB: Tell us about Booz Allen Hamilton’s military veterans’ hiring efforts.
Hardy: Our company has put in place focused recruiting initiatives and multiple branding efforts to showcase opportunities for transitioning military personnel, including partnerships with more than 25 veteran-based organizations to target top tier military talent. We also recruit junior officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted personnel and we hire military spouses. Booz Allen uses broad networks to advertise our hiring programs, including associations such as MOAA and Non-Commissioned Officers Association, and we partner with many veteran-connected organizations such as Marines for Life and Army PaYS.
Part of what we strive to do is to reinforce our firm as an employer of choice with the transitioning military community. Two years ago, we put in place a senior level committee that looks at all things veteran including recruiting. One third of our employee population self-identify as military and our military hires have now reached 30%.
We feel we are a company that understands the military and we give veterans a chance to serve in a different way but with similar goals. Since a lot of our work supports defense clients, we give individuals the opportunity to continue to support the overarching mission of the military. We are a company that understands what military experience brings to the table; we value leadership, responsibility, integrity, teamwork and accountability, which are military values as well.
VSB: What prompted the company to make such a deep investment in hiring military veterans?
Hardy: We’ve always had a strong hiring program for vets. We’re now building on that foundation and expanding our efforts to ensure that we are also reaching spouses and others in the broader military family.
We’ve also developed a strong program not just in the job search and recruiting phase, but throughout individuals’ careers at Booz Allen. We have a centrally funded and managed disability accommodations program, tailored training to help veterans integrate into non-military space and also help non-military team members integrate with their military teams; we take a very holistic approach. We also have company-wide mentoring programs through which individuals can request a mentor with a similar military background. In addition, we offer senior officer learning circles to provide opportunities to share experiences and in an informal way, peer mentor others.
VSB: How are senior level military veterans you’ve hired contributing to the success of your company today?
Hardy: Part of what has led to our success is having former senior military leaders who have helped drive our strategy, recruitment and retention efforts .In addition, our team includes individuals who have come to us from very senior positions within their branch of the military and are now continuing to make a difference with that service as a member of the BAH team. For example, Angela Messer, senior vice president and the senior leader for our Army market, transitioned from the Army into Reserve status which then eventually led her to Booz Allen; she is now the key interface and liaison with the Army for our company.
VSB: In what other ways is your company demonstrating its support of the military community?
Hardy: We are actively involved in supporting the military community through a number of initiatives. For example:
- During Fiscal Year 2011, we donated more than $900,000 in support of veterans, wounded warriors, military families and active duty service members through nonprofit organizations such as the United Services Organization (USO), Operation Homefront, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
- For the Face of America Ride 2012, more than 40 BAH employees cycled alongside more than 100 Wounded Warriors for 110 miles from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA, with 50 employees volunteering to host the BAH Rest Stop along the way.
- More than 50 employees helped Operation Homefront with on-site assistance needed by Wounded Warriors and their families during two weekends of moves in August 2011 from the old Walter Reed medical facility to the new Bethesda and Fort Belvoir facilities.
VSB: What advice would you give to active duty members transitioning out of military service as they consider the possibility of a career in the private sector?
Hardy: Be deliberate in what you want to do and in determining the types of organizations you want to pursue. Seek out those who understand the military, have demonstrated their commitment to the military and who share the values you bring to the table.