Even though employers are laser focused on improving the employee experience, there are still a lot of underemployed talent that doesn't get the proper outreach and support. For instance, veterans are underrepresented among employers.
Veteran Opportunity Report shows that veterans are 15.6% more likely to be underemployed than non-veterans, even though they stay at their company 8% longer and get promoted 39% sooner. Veterans have a tendency to perform well in civilian jobs, but they are not always given the opportunity to prove their abilities.
Veteran employee resource groups like Liberty Mutual's Valor@Liberty + Allies can be crucial not only to hiring veterans, but also to making sure they thrive, says Eric Amstutz, national co-chair of Valor and a Texan Army National Guard Captain who served in the Iraq War.
Amstutz says "My voice serves current service members and those making the transition to civilian life." "I am therefore concerned that we have the right benefits and take a proactive approach to our community."
Over 2,000 members, including military members, veterans, and families - and there are plans to grow. Among the many programs Valor supports is Hiring Our Heroes, a government-funded effort that provides job opportunities for veterans. For their part, Liberty Mutual offers them a 12-week fellowship on the Department of Defense's dime. The company will then place candidates in permanent positions or in its veteran development program so that it can continue to search for the best position for them.
'Liberty Mutual not only places them, but puts them in a culture where we can come close and help them," says Amstutz. "We're not only concerned with hiring, but about giving them back the sense of community they miss from their time in military service."
To Amstutz, success is all about community. He recalls how everybody is assigned a battle buddy on the day they enter the military, and how close-knit some military communities could be. A lot of people might still need support after they leave the military.
Amstutz says that being in the military can create that camaraderie necessary for survival sometimes. While we may not be operating in a combat zone, we are still able to offer the same level of support as soon as we enter the country."
Because of that, Valor's mentorship program gives members an opportunity to meet other service members and allies. Over 110 pairings are now being conducted through 14 local chapters and the national chapter. The mentorship program goes beyond bonding, it offers networking opportunities and career guidance, which is helpful for those used to a more linear career path.
"In the military, you have a specific path based on your rank and time. The more you advance, the more potential you have for advancement," Amstutz explains. You often need to network and know what to apply for in the civilian sector.
The mentorship program provides you with networking opportunities and career guidance, which can be especially useful for someone who's used to navigating a more linear career path.
According to the military, there are a number of different career paths based upon time and rank. Once you get promoted, you'll know what comes next. The civilian sector can be difficult to navigate when it comes to career development. Networking and knowing what to apply for are essential.
Mentorship isn't the end of building a community. Additionally, Amstutz moderates a Connect Call every two months during which over 500 members of the military community as well as senior Liberty Mutual executives discuss relevant topics. Members were able to voice their opinions on the Afghanistan withdrawal last September, for instance.
Consequently, Liberty Mutual provided $200,000 to Hope For The Warriors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support to combat wounded service members and their families as well as those of those killed in action. Furthermore, Liberty Mutual gave $50,000 to No One Left Behind, an organization that helps wartime allies resettle in the United States.
Amstutz makes sure their ERG keeps overseas soldiers in mind throughout the year by partnering with Operation Gratitude, which delivers care packages to troops and creating Letters To Troops, where Liberty Mutual employees have already sent over 3,300 letters over the holidays.
"You can feel left behind by people back home when you move overseas," Amstutz says. The letters are a terrific way for service members to feel valued and heard."
Amstutz and Valor have been working on ensuring Liberty Mutual's benefits reflect their values. In this case, the company increased its paid time off policy from ten to thirty days, which means current service members are more than covered during their training periods and other military duties. Also, Liberty Mutual offers free counseling and an online stress management program, which has doubled in usage in the last year.
Currently, he plans on pushing for more benefits for Valor members and continues to emphasize community within the ERG, noting that it takes a village to fix a problem.
Especially in a virtual environment, you can feel alone and isolated, according to him. You need these employee resource groups to give your workers a sense of belonging."