Across all industries, talent is our single most important resource. Our corporate strategies rise and fall in line with the experience, commitment, and uniqueness of our talent pool. One can often point to economic circumstances, seasonality of your business or other external factors affecting your market position, however even in times of an economic downturn, your talent makes you stand out above your competitors and helps you overcome the downturns faster than others.
Executing on your talent strategy is the most important lever you have in achieving your corporate goals. However, many leaders take their talent strategy for granted. They believe that the same recruiting and hiring initiatives they put in place years ago still apply today. These initiatives likely involve standard job descriptions with industry-specific acronyms, and recruiting efforts focused on employees with specific technical backgrounds or a specific pedigree of university education.
There’s no doubt those factors remain important, but to be honest, they’re often used in isolation, which is an approach I’ve seen fail all too often.
Instead of focusing on the very technical aspects of a role, what would happen if you focused on the human characteristics needed to be successful in a given role. Characteristics like adaptability, diversity, resilience, sense of community, hunger to learn and passion.
These characteristics are prolific across many impact sourcing strategies, specifically those focused on military spouse employment.
Why Military Spouses?
You have most likely heard the many benefits your company can reap when hiring veterans, you may even have a veteran sourcing strategy, but perhaps you haven’t yet considered the value of employing military spouses.
Military spouses are often overlooked, yet bring a vast range of skills to the table. You may be surprised to learn that military spouses are twice as likely to be unemployed than the veteran workforce. A recent Blue Star Families research report noted that 48% of active-duty military spouses cite employment as the number-one challenge to military life. Also, for at least the second year in a row, military spouse employment topped “spouse’s time away from family” as the number-one challenge to military life. Certainly, we all face challenges in life, but our military families shouldn’t have to worry about employment more than they worry about the safety of their service member.
As a business leader, I understand hiring challenges. To a typical hiring manager, a military spouse resume looks like someone who jumps from job to job. However, what isn’t realized is that the military spouse behind that resume had to move with their service member every few years due to military commitments, often without the ability to take their job with them.
When we look at the business benefits of utilizing an impact sourcing strategy through employing military spouses, we begin to uncover a high-quality, yet untapped talent pool.
Here’s why you should consider adding military spouses to your impact sourcing strategy.
Military Spouses Are Adaptable-to-Change
Change is constant for a military family. They may be preparing for a relocation to California and at the last minute, there is a change in military orders taking them to Japan. The military family has no other option but to comply and make the most of this change. This happens frequently for the nearly 800,000 military families. With a dynamic and evolving economy, business leaders must also evolve and make the necessary shifts in strategy to allow for innovation and growth. With that, having a workforce that is adaptable to change is a must. Adapting to a changing marketplace, with confidence that your employee base will be able to adapt alongside you, gives your organization a competitive advantage.
Military Spouses Have Diverse Skill Sets
Different duty stations and the inability to find “the right job” often leave military spouses to re-invent their careers. This results in a vast array of skillsets and a determination to succeed. Not only do military spouses hold many technical capabilities, but they also possess interpersonal skills, the ability to work with many different personalities, are agile, love to learn, and embrace the diversity of thought and perspective. Military spouses bring a wealth of diversity to the table. Becoming an organization that embraces the diversity of thought and perspective will better position you for long-term growth.
Military Spouses Are Resilient
It is normal for military spouses to be under pressure and deal with stressful situations such as combat deployments and being the sole caretaker in the household. They’ve learned to work well under pressure and do so with grace and poise. They have the ability to bounce back from unfavorable outcomes and thrive wherever they are placed. As an organizational leader, you must have employees you can count on to get the job done right under tight deadlines and stressful circumstances. Military spouses will deliver for you time and time again.
Military Spouses Are Educated
84% of all military spouses have some college, 24% hold a bachelor’s degree and 10% hold a master’s degree. However, even with education, many hiring managers cannot get past the sometimes spotty resumes. The fortunate news is there are many educated military spouses ready and willing to do what it takes to be part of your team.
As a military spouse, I have seen firsthand how detail-oriented, flexible and organized a military spouse needs to be in their personal life. As a business leader, I have found these same strengths are essential in growing and scaling a successful business.