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Alight opens employment doors for military veterans and their families


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Alight employment for military veterans and their family

The U.S. military employs thousands of people with highly specialized skillsets. Each year, 200,000 retire from service. Many are looking to use these skills in civilian careers. This opens a huge and sometimes untapped talent pool to corporate America.

Why hiring ex-military employees is good for business

Ex-military candidates have a strong work ethic and bring the values taught in their military training to the commercial workplace.

Beyond combat roles, there are 200-plus job functions supporting and running the armed forces. In essence, the military is a high-volume employer, a sophisticated logistics operation and a self-supporting community.

To function, this requires the same skills needed to run a large business, an international transport business or a small town. On top of these skills, veterans bring unique knowledge and insights into the application of many of these skills. This can make a firm more competitive.

“Through our recruitment, we have found that military service nurtures leadership, organizational skills, resilience and loyalty – skills all employers value,” explained Rob Sturrus, EVP Health & Wealth Solutions at Alight Solutions and Team VALOR executive sponsor.

However, the divide in understanding the potential role of veterans in the civilian workplace is profound. This is something Alight is committed to addressing as an equitable employer and as an example to other employers. To aid skills transfer, Alight has developed a military skills translation tool. This can be used by any recruiter or candidate who needs to translate military skills for civilian use. 

“Firms need to educate themselves on the transferable skills military personnel bring to a civilian workplace. Too many organizations don’t make the connection between the roles and skills in the military. Equally, veterans can struggle to articulate these. This results in the perpetuation of the military-civilian skills translation disconnect,” continued Rob Sturrus.

Perception is a deeper challenge

Despite a strong work ethic and dedication to mission accomplishment, many veterans continue to find it difficult to secure a position in the civilian workforce. There are five key reasons why this can be. Skills translation, skills mismatch, negative stereotypes, concern about future deployments and acclimation.

“Not all hiring managers recognize military job titles. It is hard to understand the context of work done and the strengths this can bring to non-military environments. Equally, veterans can struggle to articulate their experiences and achievements. This can result in underemployment,” explained Kristen Henderson, Director, EMEA Change Management at Alight.

Kristen is the wife of a retired British Royal Navy Submariner who recently transitioned into a civilian role. She was born into a U.S. military family – her father, brother and grandparents all served.

With lived experiences and 25-plus years as an HR professional, she is fully aware of the challenges ex-service personnel can experience when transitioning to the civilian workforce and living outside of the security of a military community.

“I encourage employers to be open-minded. The military is all about the team. When you hire veterans, they’re already predisposed to collaboration. They’re trained to deliver, and they are loyal. Regardless of the brevity of the brief or potential blockers to progress, most ex-military personnel will find the solutions and deliver,” continued Kristen.

Alight has developed a military skills translation tool

There is work to be done to champion veterans in the workplace

Alight is committed to hiring ex-military and their families as part of its inclusive global hiring program. Its talent team partners with military communities via organizations including Workforce Opportunities Service (WOS). Teams also attend veteran recruitment events.

In addition to providing a network for former and present military colleagues and allies, Team VALOR, a colleague-led community (CLC) reinforces Alight’s commitment to hiring and developing veterans and military spouses. It is led by Mark Kaminski, a programmer analyst in Alight’s defined benefits solutions business and U.S. Army veteran.

Dyllion Eckhardt Alight military-to-civilian career succession success stories

Dyllion joined Alight as a project manager four years ago after 10 years of service in the U.S. Army. Prior to this, he was a project manager on several critical IT transformation projects.

On paper, he doesn’t have the qualifications typically sought by corporate hiring teams. A chance reading of a WOS/Alight advertisement changed the course of his future.

During the selection panel, it was clear Dyllion’s skills as a military operations specialist were transferable – and sought after. In his high-pressured intelligence role, Dyllion was the eyes and ears of the Commander. Fact-finding, digesting and abridging complex and mission-critical information.

“Transitioning from military to civilian life is challenging. Many leave service with skills and experience suited to civilian jobs but are unable to articulate these into non-military qualities. As a result, many veterans end up in lower-skilled, lower-paid jobs than their experience supports.

“Thanks to Alight recognizing and nurturing my potential, I have a civilian career and a lifestyle I didn’t think possible. I can vouch that Alight is genuinely invested in helping service leavers bridge the gap from service to a career in a business,” explained Dyllion Eckhardt, Alight and U.S. Army Veteran.

Helping employers and candidates bridge the transition gap

Research suggests the skills many former military employees have are closely aligned to some of the skill gaps civilian employers face. There is a strong business case for these firms to take the time to make this discovery. To educate themselves on the attributes this huge and perpetual talent pool offers.

hiring ex-military employees is good for business

“As an employer of veterans, Alight would not hesitate to encourage other organizations to hire former military personnel. Not only do we hire, but we also ensure all have the right training so they can be successful. Our objective is to retain this talent. In many cases they are very good, ambitious and they can be our competitive advantage,” explained Xan Daniels, VP Inclusion and Diversity at Alight Solutions.

Message to the veteran community

Alight has proactively targeted veterans in the U.S. Several hundred ex-military and family members are currently employed in the U.S. and overseas. The plan is to extend veteran outreach across its global employee network.

“There is no question that Alight’s success, wellbeing and culture are strengthened by our veteran community. This Veterans Day, we’re proud, as we are every day, of the service given by our serving and veteran military colleagues. We also acknowledge the sacrifices their families have made to support them,” continued Xan Daniels.  

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