Six weeks into his first civilian job, retired Army Colonel Tom Hiebert believes he has found the right fit. As he heads ADP’s new initiative to recruit and on-board veterans, he combines his knowledge of the military with a company whose values and culture he admires.
“ADP reached out to me in January after I had submitted my official retirement paperwork. Dermot O’Brien (Chief Human Resources Officer) came to talk to me and said ‘We really want to get into veterans’ hiring in a big way,’ ” Tom recalls.
He then spoke with Rita Mitjans, Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, to whom he now reports. “I was impressed by the deep commitment I could see to veterans already in the company. The culture and the values of ADP aligned very strongly with my own values. After 28 years in the Army, I never thought I could find something post-Army I could be so passionate about,” Tom says.
Love of the Military
Tom is the son of a career Army man (30 years) and his wife’s dad was in the Marine Corps. “Neither of us had ever lived anywhere for longer than four years,” he says, noting he had promised his two sons, 15 and 9, a more consistent schooling experience. His Army career, which started with a West Point education and ended with a July 4 formal retirement ceremony at West Point, included a deployment in Iraq in 2004-2005 with 1,000 people in his command.
“Tom’s perspective as a veteran and leadership experience will enable us to transition many more veterans into productive roles that can contribute to ADP’s growth and their own professional development,” says Rita.
Doubling the Veteran Population
Working closely with the company’s talent acquisition team, corporate social responsibility and the diversity team, as well as business and HR leaders, Tom has ambitious goals.
Currently, around 3% of the ADP’s employees are veterans and Tom hopes to get that to 7% within the next two years, and 10% or more after that. “It’s aspirational but I think we can double our veteran population,” he says.
Adds Rita: “ADP is committed to providing opportunities for our military men and women and currently employs approximately 1,000 veterans across its U.S. operations, leveraging strong relationships with national veterans recruiting partners and military bases near our Augusta, Ga. And El Paso, Texas locations.”
|COLONEL TOM HIEBERT|
Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, U.S. Military Academy at West PointBattalion Commander, 82nd Airborne
Graduate, West Point
Ph.D in Finance, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
As a veteran, Tom understands the potential problems new hires face and his emphasis will be on both recruitment and successful on-boarding of former military hires.
“The biggest issue for veterans is making the transition out of military life we have to help our recruiters and hiring managers better understand veteran skill sets and how they translate into roles at ADP,” he says.
It starts with education he wants recruiters and hiring managers to understand military ranks, military occupational specialties and their relevance to ADP jobs. He intends to hold webinars and use the company’s military business resource group, Military Strong, to help spread the learning.
The group, formed 18 months ago and reorganized this spring, has 45 chapters nationally. It is comprised of veterans and supporters and Tom intends to use these members as ambassadors to help hiring managers and recruiters, including campus recruiters.
“Everybody is in great agreement that veterans have talent, skills, and work ethic. We are closing and bridging the gap to give them a chance,” he says.
“When you are on a 360-day deployment, you work all the time. In corporate America, you are expected to work every bit as hard but you know that at the end of the day, you are going home and on the weekend you will be home it’s different. The military is very ranking-structured and very bureaucratic. Most companies are linear and more flat.”
ADP, he notes, has far less bureaucracy than the military. “Six weeks into the job and I have my arms and tentacles into so many areas of the company. Everybody, including the CEO (President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez), is motivated and excited,” he says.
“This is an absolutely fabulous place to work. I literally go home every day and my wife shakes her head and says ‘I haven’t seen you this happy in years.'”