Sodexo: Understanding the Value of Veterans in the Workplace

By Bryan Hesse

Originally Published on Sodexo.

This August will be my fifth anniversary at Sodexo as a Senior Recruiter in Facilities Management for the Healthcare division, and as part of my development, I recently joined my fellow team member Yvonne Schuster as co-chair on the Military Recruitment Team.

As part of this team, we have the opportunity to participate in various career fairs in person and virtually, where military veterans and those who have recently graduated from local colleges and universities can attend, ask us questions and learn more about the careers we have to offer.

At Sodexo, we have hired hundreds of veterans in the past few years (both hourly and salaried), but unfortunately, some employers overlook these valuable candidates due to common misconceptions.

So, if you’re reading this as a candidate, I want you to understand our views as a company on the importance of hiring veterans, and if you happen to be reading this as a hiring manager, this will be a great refresher that will hopefully inspire you to be more open to bringing these heroes into the workplace.

MISCONCEPTION #1 Many veterans suffer from PTSD. This can pose a challenge in the workplace.

TRUTH PTSD is a human condition, not a military condition. The number of veterans working through PTSD is relatively small, but this negative stereotype can be reduced with PTSD awareness training.

MISCONCEPTION #2 Veterans don’t possess marketable skills. It’s challenging to translate military experience, skills and levels of responsibility into equivalent positions in the corporate world.

TRUTH: Many veterans possess highly sought-after skills, like time management, leadership and problem-solving. Strengths including passion, loyalty and comradery are also very desirable traits in employees.

MISCONCEPTION #3Veterans are too accustomed to operating within a rigid “do as your told” culture and struggle to fit into a less formal environment.

TRUTHMilitary experience includes being exposed to challenging situations, limited resources and competing priorities, all of which require quick thinking and flexibility. Adaptability is a strength of veterans, not a weakness!

As you can see, these common misconceptions toward military hiring are untrue. Let’s take the common but incorrect thought that veterans don’t have marketable skills. In reality, the skills learned in the military like leadership, team building, critical thinking, strong work ethic, problem solving, technical skills and more fit in perfectly with nearly all our positions!

Given the nature of missions, projects and experiences that they are have been exposed to, veterans possess key transferable skill sets and competencies that every organization can utilize. And because May is Military Appreciation Month, we want to recognize our veterans for their service and let them know just how valuable they can be as team members and managers.

I would also like to personally extend my gratitude to all veterans and military personnel. I know the sacrifices you and your families have made and continue to make to protect our country. And from all of us on the Sodexo Talent Acquisition team, thank you for your service to our country!

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