Tapping Military Talent: Halfaker joins discussion on the Corporate Power of Returning Vets

Laguna Niguel, CA—On October 3rd, CEO of Halfaker and Associates, Dawn Halfaker, participated as a guest panelist in the discussion entitled, “Social Good: Tapping Military Talent - The Corporate Power of Returning Vets” at the 2012 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California. She was joined by two incredibly influential women: U.S. Army Brigadier General Laura Richardson, the first-ever female deputy commanding general of a U.S. Army division, and Ms. Debbie Storey, Senior Vice President Talent Development and Chief Diversity Officer, AT&T.

During their breakfast panel discussion, the women discussed the issues veterans face when transitioning from the military to the corporate culture, why hiring veterans makes good business sense and what corporations can do to best recruit and retain veterans. With veterans unemployment rates generally dropping over the past year, the trend is going in the right direction. Dawn reflected, “To really keep the momentum going, we must move beyond the altruistic idea that it is the right thing to do; in reality, hiring a veteran is about the return of investment. At Halfaker, over 50% of our employees are veterans and I have found they have an unmatched leadership ability, willingness to take on projects and push themselves, respect for the corporate structure, and an ability to just get things done and accomplish the mission.”

The panelists discussed the best practices to bring veterans onboard. According to panelist Debbie Storey of AT&T, “We recently took an important step by hiring a dedicated military talent attraction manager to help better connect us with veteran job seekers. Chris Norton, a former Army officer who served in Iraq, taps both his military and corporate experience to serve as a teacher and translator. Every day, Norton teaches military terms to AT&T hiring managers and helps veterans seeking jobs translate their military skills and experience to match corporate needs.” The panel agreed that a successful recruiting strategy includes building relationships with veteran service organizations and non-profits. BG Laura Richardson emphasized the sheer number of returning veterans with great experience that will be looking for jobs. To get the word out to veterans about jobs, Debbie noted that at AT&T, “We advertise all of our external career opportunities on more than 30 job sites targeting the veteran community and their families. We attend dozens of veteran career fairs across the country. We provide localized job notifications to all branches of the military through military transition offices and military alumni programs. And we created a program where veterans who work for us provide job-search assistance to veterans applying for AT&T opportunities.”

Their discussion continued beyond veteran specific hiring practices and dissected the methods companies use to assimilate veterans within the corporate culture once they are onboard. Dawn, a medically retired US Army Officer, described the value of providing a support network, “The military is built for support, and many Veterans feel lost in the typical corporate structure and 9 to 5 civilian mentality. Their jobs in the military had been much more than an occupation, it defined them. Their co-workers were teammates and friends with whom they shared the unique bond of having gone to combat together. Obviously difficult to recreate, corporations can strive to maintain a culture akin to the military’s support network by uniting their employees through a bond of meaningful work and community service.”

Dawn is hopeful more companies across America will hire veterans, recognizing the return on investment, and embrace tactics to help veterans successfully transition from the military to the corporate culture. When companies hire a veteran, they are getting an employee with the unique transferable skills he or she developed on the battlefield: doing more with less, turning adversity into opportunity, and letting nothing stop them or stand in their way—traits that will help corporations succeed in today’s challenging economy.

Halfaker is a 2012 CivilianJobs.com Most Valuable Employer for Military and is currently looking for additional team members. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit the Halfaker Careers Page and connect with Halfaker on their @halfakercareers Twitter account for the most up-to-date career information.

To learn more about the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California, please visit: http://bit.ly/PTa8Ev.