DEVELOPING A RECRUITING STRATEGY
“Hiring and supporting veterans has been a long-standing part of our company's heritage, but we have more recently begun to identify ways to make it a more strategic part of our recruiting strategy,” says Pam Webster, assistant vice president of talent acquisition at Enterprise Holdings, headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Enterprise's Corporate Talent Acquisition team developed a handful of key tactics to formalize the company’s military/veteran recruiting strategy:
- Military Microsite
- Internal Education/Training
- Recruitment Marketing
- Employee Resource Group
The team worked with the company’s recruitment marketing agency and its internal recruitment marketing team to develop the tools and resources. The discovery phase of the development process included some of the following actions:
- A survey of current veteran employees (active duty as well as Guard members and Reservists) to ask more specifics about their military service and job: service branch, grade, rank, military occupational code, length of service, whether they served in Iraq or Afghanistan, how many times they deployed, how their military service helped prepare them for success in their current role, and why they joined Enterprise. The survey included levels of employees in a variety of roles, across all Enterprise Holdings brands.
- Focus groups, conducted with employees across the company, covered their experience in working at Enterprise Holdings (or its brands); challenges they experienced with their transition from the military; support they received from Enterprise Holdings; things the company could do better during their transition; their impression of the company as a veteran-friendly employer; and the process of looking for employment opportunities at Enterprise Holdings or other companies.
- Recruiter focus groups were conducted to identify current recruitment tactics that have yielded the best results and to understand the challenges in their veteran recruitment efforts.
- Research on best practices through: involvement with coalitions; webinars, workshops and conferences that focused on veteran recruiting; and government and public/private websites.
- Networking with employers with strong veteran recruitment programs.
The tools and resources in the portfolio emerged from the discovery phase. The company continues to evaluate and enhance these resources based on feedback, as well as develop new resources.
- Military Microsite – Enterprise created a destination website specifically for veterans and their spouses that could tell the story about being a veteran-friendly employer. Focusing on the individual became a key component of the website evolution: The company decided that employee profiles could best demonstrate how a potential military job candidate could fit in at Enterprise Holdings.
- Education/Training – The company built training and resources for both its Corporate Talent Acquisition team and hiring managers, knowing that a very small percentage of the team is likely to have a direct connection with the military (a spouse, sibling, parent, etc.). A handbook provides general knowledge about the military lifestyle, including military skills and values, military occupational codes, and the command hierarchy of each branch. Internal training also discusses the landscape of military unemployment issues and company-specific hiring strategies.
- Media/Advertising – Enterprise developed targeted messaging to the military audience and identified media opportunities to brand Enterprise Holdings as a veteran-friendly employer. These don’t have to be paid endeavors; Enterprise created callouts to its military site on its careers site and home page.
- Recruitment Marketing – The company developed recruiting materials for its Corporate Talent Acquisition team to use in local veteran recruiting efforts (such as at hiring fairs), including print ads using Enterprise Holdings employees and employee profiles to tell their stories.
- Employee Resource Group – The company built an online tool for Enterprise Holdings where current veteran employees can interact and network online, as well as bring awareness to the company’s support for the military.
Dedicating resources to veteran recruiting is key. Dave Dunckel, veterans initiatives manager for Roush Enterprises, says, “The company has been extremely open to ideas and willing to give me resources. They gave me a blank slate, which was great. They recognize that the veteran community out there has a lot of potential to add to our workforce. And we’re not doing it out of charity; we’re doing it because it’s good for business. The only thing keeping us from growing even more is people—we can’t find enough good people!”
Roush hires a lot of people for engineering design and manufacturing; it regularly faces a number of vacancies in the skilled trade and STEM fields. “The veteran community is the perfect place to address not only veteran employment, but also the skilled trade/STEM employment gap,” says Dunckel. The company is proud to be working to steer veterans who are unsure about what they want to do into the STEM industry.
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