How Are Veteran Resource Groups Helping Companies Leverage the Drawdown of Military Troops?

Resource groups for veterans? Here's why companies see the recruitment of veterans as a competitive advantage and how these groups are helping.

Q: What would DiversityInc say are the hot topics or common themes currently in the diversity field? I assume everyone is trying to figure out how to support the drawdown of troops.

A: The support and hiring of veterans is a hot topic. That's one of the reasons we will introduce The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Veterans list in 2013. 

Our data shows that the number of DiversityInc Top 50 companies that have veterans resource groups increased by 18.2 percent over the past year alone. Companies see the recruitment of veterans as a competitive advantage and are tapping into their veterans resource groups for help. Watch our diversity web seminar on resource groups for more.

CSX, No. 23 in the DiversityInc Top 50 and our 2011 Top Company for Diversity-Management Progress, is the best company we've seen in terms of recruiting veterans:

  •  More than 20 percent of the company's workforce is military. 
  • The company has an extensive military-recruitment program—108 military installations in 23 states.
  • Its veterans group (the Military Inclusion Group) supports CSX citizen-soldier employees and their families and promotes awareness of the U.S. armed forces. The resource group also provides networking opportunities and coordinators for events such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day/Military Appreciation Day, July 4 and Armed Forces Day. 
  • The company also is the only two-time winner of the U.S. Department of Defense's Freedom Award for support of the military.

"[Veterans] are a great match for what our business does, as we are extremely focused on safety," said CSX's Chairman, President and CEO Michael Ward at a DiversityInc event. "We as a company make sure their pay is constant and health benefits are maintained. Recruitment of women and Blacks in particular is a focus."

Read: Railroad CEO's Personal Passion Creates Real Diversity Results.

Learn more about CSX's military-recruiting strategies in our diversity web seminar on veterans in the workplace with CSX's Margaret Downey, general manager of Learning Development & Strategies (and formerly the company's director of recruiting and staffing) at

The hiring and promotion of veterans is increasingly important. In DiversityInc's recent diversity web seminar on recruitment and hiring gaps, DiversityInc Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Barbara Frankel highlighted best practices for recruiting veterans. These include:

  • Use recruiters who are experts on the military, both internal and external, to ensure connections with current and former troops.
  • Create a military-resource group and use it to find and nurture veterans during on-boarding and when employees are deployed.
  • Word of mouth is critical. Make sure people perceive your company as being inclusive to veterans.

For more on recruiting veterans, visit If you would like to send a diversity-management question, please email

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