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The Private Sector Hiring of Veterans, Research Proposal Example

Pages: 12

Words: 3224

Research Proposal

Improving the Private Sector Hiring of Veterans and Transitioning Military Members

One group of potential employees that has been hit the hardest by high rates of unemployment over the course of the recession and accompanying weak labor market has been veterans and transitioning military members (BLS, 2015). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the unemployment rate for the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is higher than the rate for all Americans. Making the situation worse is young veterans are completing their military service only to enter a job market where young people aged 34 and under are experiencing the highest rates of unemployment of any age group. (BLS, 2015). Another challenge facing many veterans is they are returning to civilian life with disabilities as a result of injuries incurred in the line of duty, further hindering their search for employment. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2010).  Human Resource professionals are uniquely positioned to help both transitioning military personnel and veterans get a foothold in the labor market but it just does not stop there (BLS, 2015). Leadership from the top down must understand and be committed to hiring a veteran. As a result, human resource departments must ensure that their managers are aware of the varying needs and abilities that veterans possess.  For this reason, this research project is to focus on the barriers that exist which limit these veterans and transitioning military members in order to support these men and women in their search for civilian employment.

Problem Statement

Considering all the possible advantages, some employers do not seem to be as willing to hire veterans or military members transitioning into civilian life. The intent of this research is to identify and understand the reasons why employers are not as willing or are reluctant to hire these potential employees and the potential benefits of hiring them.

Research Question

Why are private sector employers reluctant to hiring veterans or military members transitioning to civilian life?

Subset research questions.  What are some of the hindrances for an employer to hiring a veteran? What are the benefits of hiring veterans and military members for an organization? Who in leadership within the organization holds the responsibility to encourage hiring of veterans and military members? In what ways can the veteran or military member increase their attractiveness to a potential employer so they can increase their chances of being hired?

Rationale

The rationale for the proposal is veterans and transitioning military members comprise a valuable human resource talent pool entering America’s workforce.  With the US workforce changing, the veteran’s training, education, skills, characteristics and experiences are often unparalleled to others in the workforce. (Corporate Leadership Council, 2013).  If properly integrated into private sector businesses, veterans can help companies achieve higher financial targets, improve innovation, and expand into new markets, making America stronger.  . According to Rhonda Stickley, president of the Direct Employers Association,

“When you do not have an understanding, context, or shared experience to draw on, it’s hard to imagine how even the core skills that are learned in the military translate to a civilian role. . . . So when you don’t know, it may be easier to stick to stereotypes drawn from one bad experience or one story, or to the cliché that if you are in the military, you are inflexible, a rule follower, or unable to think independently. Based on my firsthand experience, I think, of course, that a young military person has more ability to be flexible and adapt to changing situations than someone who hasn’t been in the military.” (Delbourg, 2014).

Employers struggle with human capital management more than any other challenge in today’s world economy. (Corporate Leadership Council, 2013).  The research is targeting to understand the barriers preventing employers from hiring veterans so that they will have an understanding of the benefits of hiring a veteran, which coincide with what employers most often highlight as character flaws (disloyal, unaccountable, selfish) in the current workforce (Employer Roadmap, 2014). The project also will explore who in the organizational structure also holds the responsibility for veteran hiring and whether it is possibly misplaced or shared among many within the executive leadership. The project also will touch on what responsibilities the veteran has to make themselves more attractive to a potential employer.

Definitions

  • Resiliency-Soldiers have a “bounce back” never complain attitude; this is a great quality to have on any job.
  • Loyalty-Soldiers are loyal to the companies they serve. They have a sense of family within their organization that must civilians do not possess.
  • Negative Stereotypes-Soldiers are often viewed negatively by civilians because of recent cases of PDSS. Many see soldiers as potential loose cannons.
  • Skill Translation-Within the military, soldiers often have the opportunity to perform many jobs, and do a great job. However, once they come home, those skills do not translate into civilian jobs. Yet, soldiers possess the skills to complete the job.

Acclimation-Most soldiers who have served their countries for long periods of time have to adjust back into civilian life. This process is usually successful for most soldiers.

Hypothesis

Potential employers’ reluctance to hire veterans is directly attributable to human resources departments inability to identify connecting knowledge, skills and abilities with core competencies of veterans; the overall staffing strategy of the organization; and the Veterans inabilities to communicate and translate their knowledge skills and abilities into the current industry workforce. Whatever skills mismatch may exist during the transition to the civilian labor market seems to be quickly overcome with education and training. Employer discrimination plays a major role in veterans’ employment outcomes due to the initial interface which is the resume. Often, the hiring manager is influenced by bias when he/she notices the potential employee’s military status.

Literature Review

Since the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more soldiers are returning home an acclimating into the workforce. Often the transition is a little difficult, but could be mad easier if companies understood and were more willing to hire Veterans. Although those serving in the military make up less than 1 percent of the nation’s population, the numbers of those who are successfully acclimated back into the workforce are even smaller. (Delbourg, 2014). Even equipped with this basic knowledge, hiring the veteran should be no different than hiring a non-veteran. It seems military veterans have numerous challenges gaining and maintaining jobs, because their unemployment rates consistently higher than nonveterans. Given these challenges, little theory and research in the area of Human Resource Management aims at understanding the factors affecting decisions to hire military veterans (Stone, 2014). Hiring the veteran does pose a different set of challenges and understanding, not only for the Human Resource professional, but also of the hiring managers. Employers seem to have a basic misconception and knowledge of veterans and this may lead to some prejudices

There are many benefits in hiring a Veteran.  Individuals who live the military lifestyle have a background in commitment to themselves, to each other, and to the employer that treats them well. This type of background instills qualities in the Veteran that will make him/her a great team member (Hirsch, 2003    ). The military lifestyle is different from most non-military employees’ experiences. It instills those skills that business requires in today’s market place. Some of those needed skills include resiliency, respect, patience, trust, and honesty, all of which are valuable skills to any company (Hirsch, 2003)

Leadership within the organization is important to hiring the veteran and who in leadership plays a key role in that process. Human Resource (HR) professionals can make a big difference in their communities by working with veterans’ groups to help them create programs that will build skills and smooth the transition from military to civilian work. (Richard, 2006,). Human resource personnel have been noted to play an important role in the success of an organization because they are the ones who determine the leadership direction. Avolio, Mhatre, & Lester (2009), determined that there were four major questions to be answered to determine if some leadership interventions were more effective than others. The first question was whether or not certain leadership interventions were more effective than others. Next, the authors wanted to find out if the setting of job was correlated with the type of intervention that works best. The third question evaluated leadership strategies that were based upon theories of leadership. The final question sought to understand specific target interventions.  This was a meta-analysis. The researchers studied 18 databases. Several variables were used, including gender of leadership and setting of the job. The researchers compared how size and setting affected leadership interventions. This was a preliminary study and further research needs to be conducted. There seems to be a correlation between leadership styles and gender. This information would prove important to human resource workers when they are hiring Veterans. The authors found that men and women tend to lead in different manners. Knowing what type of population one has and the type of leadership needed, a human resource worker make an informed decision when placing managers in position to hire potential Veterans

It becomes the responsibility of not only the HR professionals, but the hiring manager/supervisor to understand skills translation. Civilian employers do not always realize that military specific job- such as machine gunner, tank driver or helicopter crew chief- have some components that are directly comparable to civilian environments and involve responsibilities that transfer directly to civilian workplaces. (Harrell, 2013). These same leaders have responsibilities to overcome negative stereotypes. Along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), another negative stereotype of veterans is that they are too rigid in their approach or lack the ability to think creatively (Harrell, 2013). In these instances, the civilian employer may have to encourage the candidate to be more open and communicative, whereas the veteran may be more likely to interacting as the military training and protocol which they are accustom.

Having a positive relationship with the human resource department is a great strategic plan (Lawler, E., & Boudreau, J. 2009).  This meta-analysis study gave valuable insight that human resource workers can use when implementing strategies to enhance business productivity. The author suggests that over the last 10 years, the role of human resource personnel has changed drastically. They have become strategic planners. The study also examines the role of human resource workers in large corporations around the United States. The human resource workers should know each employee and their talents and capabilities. For example, “In human resource management practices (HRMP, 2014), individuals most likely have a higher level of communication with co-workers, employees and outsiders of the organization; a greater involvement of in decision making process. It can be said that individuals give high value to these new opportunities, as result their overall job satisfaction might increase when an employee participates in decision-making, he or she can trust his or her supervisors; perceive his or her jobs as challenging and intrinsically rewarding” (Lawler, E., & Boudreau, J. 2009). The limitation was that limited data was presented on the findings of using HR practices. This is a great resource because when new positions become available, human resource workers can begin their search within the employee pool. Those Veterans who have been hired will have the opportunity to advance in the company.  The author adds, “Also, as one of the human resource management practices, job rotation might increase employee’s job satisfaction by giving him/her a sense of belonging, reducing boredom, and mastering his/her skills needed for promotions” (Lawler, E., & Boudreau, J. 2009).

Veterans also need to learn how to become attractive to potential employers and this begins with the resume (Kleykamp, 2009). The résumés include specialized military jargon that may confuse some civilian employers. This misuse of jargon can alienate potential employers, preventing them from understanding an applicant’s prior work experience, and more importantly, may raise the question of whether these veterans can adapt to the corporate culture (Arendt & Sapp, 2014). Many of the résumés include what are known as “buried treasures,” skills typically prized in the corporate setting, but that have been de-emphasized or devalued based on their embedded placement in the resume. For example, experience in high-stakes situations is desirable in job applicants in the corporate sector; nevertheless, if employers merely glance at each résumé, they risk never noticing many of the applicants’ relevant accomplishments in this regard because they are buried within each résumé. (Arendt & Sapp, 2014)

Some will look at the disabilities of the veteran as a possible factor to prejudice and refusal to hire. While hiring anyone with American Disabilities Act (ADA) disabilities, it seems employers look at the veteran in a different light when it comes to “signature disabilities.” Two types of disabilities have been widely called “signature disabilities” for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Rudstam, 2012). Due to the amount of research done on this subject alone, this research will not look at these and other disabilities aspects of the hiring process.

Morale of workers plays a significant role in productivity of an organization. McPherson (2008), suggest that leadership and management skills are directly correlated with employee morale. Veterans are exceptional in keeping a good morale. They have faced some dire situations and were able to maintain a level frame of mind. This study took place of a 7 year period. The researchers use a qualitative approach to gather information. The study took place in several cities in California. The participants were from various ethnic groups including: African American, Latino, Dominican Republican, Caucasian, and Japanese. The main objective of this article is to determine ways to improve staff morale within organizations. Her findings suggest that leadership and management skills are directly correlated with employee morale. So, if management has a negative view of Veterans, so will employees. In order to change those negative stereotypes of Veterans, change must first occur in the HR departments. Yet, some employees maintain positive morale even when leadership and management skills were not effective. These employees were members of productive teams and have positive morale due to team accomplishments. The author outlined that skills like effective communication, clarity of rules, and performance oriented culture helped to improve employee morale. For example, It also gives the staff more ownership of their work, which again helps to minimize turnover” (McPherson, 2008). Veterans are trained to build teams and work together. They can do this as both military members and as civilians. This article would be beneficial to human resource workers in various fields. The morale of employees is the key to productivity.  By ensuring that the employees are happy, human resource workers can ensure that the organization is successful. Although this article focuses on production workers, the same strategies could be used or duplicated in other organizations.

Hiring veterans is not just a duty, as some see it, but a way to obtained trained and proven employees to the workforce. If used correctly, it becomes the best way to understand the power and value of relationship-based hiring practices (Wiens, 2006). The proposed research is to show there is no special system for hiring the veteran, but a more efficient, effective system of connecting people and organizations, regardless of veteran or non-veteran. The proposed research is also intended to show that most companies may be nothing more than a resume processor than a true human capital manager, This research becomes a means of adding to the present “toolbox” the ability to connect with better employees, and to not only veterans, in a more effective way.

Methodology

This research will focus the responsibilities of veterans and potential employers when it comes to hiring the hiring process. The question is why are private sector employers reluctant to hire veterans? To answer this question, it will require a broad, open-ended feedback from information collected from the referenced materials and interviews with local Human Resource professionals along with other executive team members about their views and experiences on the subject. The appropriate approach for this research is to use a qualitative research approach.

An interviewing sampling method would be appropriate in this case so the focus can be on the hiring process from resume submission to review to the interview. This may require some generalization based on the possibly diverse veteran population that may be encountered. By employing this method will allow for open-ended feedback about the process and experiences and how they may affect the ultimate hiring of a veteran. The questions will be limited to the basic research question with it subset research questions used to expand the responses. The study  will use a qualitative approach in collecting and analyzing information. To answer questions about the study, the researcher will follow a search method. Semi-open interviews and questionnaires will be used as tools to gather information. Currently, there is a great deal of research being completed on how Veterans adjust back into civilian life. Unfortunately, very few researchers have completed an in depth evaluation on why employers are reluctant to hire Veterans.

References

Arendt, C., & Sapp, D. (2014). Analyzing résumés of military veterans during transition to post-Service. Florida Communication Journal, 42(1), 45-60.

Avolio, B. J., Mhatre, K., Norman, S. M., & Lester, P. (2009). The moderating effect of gender on leadership intervention impact: An exploratory review. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 15(4), 325-341.

Delbourg-Delphis, M. (2014). A relational approach to hiring veterans. Employment Relations Today (Wiley), 41(1), 11-17.

Employer Roadmap. (2014). Prepare – understand military culture. Retrieved from http://www.employerroadmap.org/prepare/understand-military-culture

Etler, K. (2013). The dead letter veterans preference act: How the federal government is failing to lead by example in hiring veterans. Creighton Law Review, 46(3), 343-368

Harrell, M. C. (2012). Employing america’s veterans: Perspectives from businesses. Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security.

Hirsch, B. (2003). Evaluating the labor market performance of veterans using a matched comparison group. Journal of Human Resources, 38(3), 673-700

Kleykamp, M. (2009). A great place to start? The efffect of prior military service on hiring. Armed Forces & Society, 35(2), 266-285.

Lawler, E., & Boudreau, J. (2009). What makes hr a strategic partner? People and Strategy, 32(1), 14-22.

McPherson, B. (2008). Reasons to be cheerful: Staff morale improves at Lancashire County Council. Human Resource Management International Digest, 16(6), 10-13.

Richard, B. & Wilhite, A. (2006). Military experience and training effects on civilian wages. Applied Economics, 22(1). 1-25.

Rudstam, H., Strobel Gower, W., & Cook, L. (2012). Beyond yellow ribbons: Are employers prepared to hire, accommodate and retain returning veterans with disabilities? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 36(2), 87-95.

Ruh, D. (2009). Helping veterans with disabilities transition to employment. Journal of Postsecondary Education & Disability, 22(1), 67-74.

Society for Human Resource Management (U.S.). (2014). Employing military personnel and recruiting veterans: What HR can do. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management.

Stone, C. (2014).  Factors affecting hiring decisions about veterans. Human Resource Management Review, 25(1), 68-79. Retrieved, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053482214000333

Tennant, J. (2012). Disability, employment, and income: Are Iraq/Afghanistan-era U.S. veterans unique? Monthly Labor Review, 135(8), 3-3.

The Corporate Executive Board Company/CEB Corporate Leadership Council. (2013). The Business Case for Hiring Veterans. Retrieved from http://www.callofdutyendowment.org/content/dam/atvi/callofduty/code/media_kit/CEB_Hiring_Veterans_Study.pdf

US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. (2015). Unemployment rates. Retrieved from US Bureau of Labor and Statistics website: http://iava.org/blogs/bls-reports-february-2015-unemployment-rates/

US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. (2015). Employment situation of veterans —2014. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/vets/BLS-Vets-Numbers-Mar2015.pdf

Wiens, T., & Boss, P. (2006). Maintaining family resiliency before, during, and after military separation. In C. Castro, A.B. Adler, T. W. Britt, C. Castro, A. B. Adler, T. W. Britt  (Eds.), Military life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat (Vol. 3): The Military Family (pp. 13-38). Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.

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