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Top 3 Reasons to Prioritize Veteran Hiring in 2021 – Why America’s Best Companies Want to Hire Military Veterans (Business Case Analysis)

Top 3 Reasons to Prioritize Veteran Hiring in 2021 – Why America’s Best Companies Want to Hire Military Veterans (Business Case Analysis)

In this post, we will explore the Top 3 Reasons to Prioritize Veteran Hiring in 2021 along with the business case analysis of why America’s top companies want to hire military veterans.

An estimated 200,000 active-duty service members transition out of the military each year, which means this exceptional talent pool keeps adding to the estimated 18 million veterans in the U.S.

America’s best companies are learning that military veterans bring critical on-the-job skills and leadership capabilities to the workforce that can increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve the culture of small, midsize, and large businesses alike.

“I invest in veterans not to do them a favor; they are actually doing me a favor, because the qualities they bring to the workforce are invaluable.” - Roger Staubach, Former Executive Chairman of JLL Americas, Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback and Veteran

Top 3 Reasons Why America’s Best Companies Should Prioritize Veteran Hiring in 2021

  • #1 Reason to Prioritize Veteran Hiring: INCREASE COMPANY PERFORMANCE

Hiring veterans will allow your company to fill critical mid and upper-level management positions, which will reduce costs, decrease turnover, and increase company performance.

  • #2 Reason to Hire Veterans: IMPROVE COMPANY CULTURE

Veterans are a strong talent pool to build mid-level leadership capabilities at your company, which will help create a more diverse workforce and stronger company culture.


Veterans understand the importance of integrity first, doing things right, and doing the right things, which can help your company boost alignment with compliance management and security programs.

The Business Case for Hiring Vets in 2021

A study of global CEOs revealed that recruiting and retaining top human capital is their #1 overall challenge, and inadequacies in human capital management has prevented achievement of key strategic objectives.

  • Company heads and C-suite executives cited attracting and retaining talent and a possible recession as their top internal and external concerns, respectively, in 2020, according to a Jan. 2 global survey from The Conference Board.
  • The survey also found that regardless of the size and location of the organizations represented, the respondents widely agreed that talent attraction and retention would be their #1 overall internal stressor in 2021.

The SHRM Foundation and the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO) along with participants from the public and private sectors examined the short- and long-term effects of hiring veterans, drawing conclusions about risks and rewards.

They determined that despite some challenges in the short-term, the long-term positive outcomes far outweighed the negative. 

Event participants identified significant positive short-term and long-term effects of implementing a program for veteran hiring, including:

Positive short-term impact of Hiring Vets:

  • Identifying and filling critical talent needs.
  • Cost savings
  • Creating a stronger and more diverse workforce.
  • Generating goodwill internally and outside the company.

Positive long-term impact of Veteran Hiring:

  • Higher performance levels and lower turnover among veteran employees.
  • Improved company performance and bottom line.
  • Creating a diverse and talent-driven organizational culture.
  • Improving mid-level leadership capabilities.
  • Bringing the organization into agreement with larger national issues.

Does hiring veterans improve company performance?

Yes, it does.

A 2013 study of veteran hiring found that veterans, on average, perform at higher levels and are less likely to turnover, generating positive outcomes for businesses.

The analysis showed that for “A company of 1,000 employees with 25 percent military veteran new hires, cost savings amounted to a whopping $325,000 per year.” - CEB Corporate Leadership Council the Business Case for Hiring Veterans.

For comparison purposes, hiring veterans will increase your company’s performance and decrease turnover.

For example, a company of 1,000 employees and average revenue per employee of $150,000, decreasing turnover by 3% saves $1.3 million annually and increasing performance by 4% improves revenue by $6 million.

Small and Midsize Firms Are Key to Hiring Top Military and Veteran Talent

Many CEOs of small, midsize, and large firms say hiring veterans makes good business sense.

Air Force veteran Brian Reese, now CEO of VA Claims Insider, says “veterans are some of the most diverse, learners, action-takers, team-players, and mission-focused leaders in the world.”

“We prioritize hiring vets because they make our company better.” said Reese

Josh Broder, who now runs Tilson Technology Management in Portland, says the work ethic, team thinking, and the leadership training soldiers receive translate well to civilian jobs.

In Texas, Renters Warehouse is veteran-owned and regularly hires veterans.

CEO Rich Drake credits his ex-military employees with “constantly exceeding our clients’ expectations” and driving the company’s success.

The same is true of VetCor, a small home and business repair firm in Florida, and Tilson, a midsize engineering and IT company in Oregon.

Tilson CEO Josh Broder explains that the military ethic of placing “Service Above Self” is what keeps him determined to hire more veterans.

Why Amazon, Starbucks, and 7-Eleven Continue to Expand Veteran Hiring

Large companies understand the value military veterans bring to their organization, too.

Amazon, Starbucks, and 7-Eleven are three of many big companies who understand the value military veterans bring to their organizations.

“We actively seek leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action and deliver results on behalf of our customers. These principles look very familiar to men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and we find that their experience leading people is invaluable in our fast-paced work environment." - Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Starbucks has committed to hiring 5,000 veterans and military spouses each year, CEO Kevin Johnson tells CNBC’s Jim Cramer. Why? Because “They make us a better company,” Johnson said.

7-Eleven CEO and West Point graduate Joe De Pinto says, “hiring and investing in veterans isn't simply the right thing to do, it's the smart thing for business leaders and employers to do.”

Further, he explains that “outstanding military leaders often make great business leaders and I’ve seen firsthand the advantage hiring veterans provides our business, and we continue to make hiring veterans a priority.”

In fact, 7-Eleven, Inc. was one of the first companies to join JPMorgan Chase in their 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of companies committed to employing U.S. Military Veterans.

Direct Financial Benefits of Hiring Veterans in 2021

In addition to the skills and talents military veterans can bring to a company, did you know that they can also help your business earn tax credits?

The new CAA, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020 includes several other provisions that extend or modify existing tax incentives.

For example, The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a credit that is available to employers that hire individuals from certain targeted groups.

The WOTC was set to expire on December 31, 2020 but has now been extended until December 31, 2025.

Earlier legislative proposals considered an expansion of WOTC, but the final form of the CAA merely extends the effective date without any other substantive changes.

Businesses that hire eligible unemployed veterans can take advantage of the WOTC.

After recent changes, The Returning Heroes Tax Credit now provides incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit doubles the existing WOTC for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities, to up to $9,600.

Here's the various veteran-related tax credits your company could qualify for: 

Unemployment Tax Credits:

  • Qualified Long-term Unemployment: This is a credit for new hires that begin work on or after January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019, during which the individual is employed no less than 27 consecutive weeks and includes a period in which the individual was receiving unemployment compensation under State or Federal law. For WOTC-certified new hires working at least 120 hours, employers can claim 25% of the first-year wages paid up to $6,000, for a maximum income tax credit of up to $1,500. For WOTC-certified new hires working 400 hours or more, employers can claim 40% of the first-year wages up to $6,000, for a maximum income tax credit of up to $2,400.
  • Short-term Unemployment: A credit of 40% of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for at least 4 weeks.
  • Long-term Unemployment: A credit of 40% of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for longer than 6 months.

Wounded Warrior Tax Credits:

  • Veterans with Services-Connected Disabilities: Maintains the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities hired within one year of being discharged from the military. The credit is 40% of the first $12,000 of wages (up to $4,800).
  • Long-Term Unemployed Veterans with Services-Connected Disabilities: A new credit of 40% of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for longer than 6 months. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations.
  • Certain tax-exempt organizations can take advantage of WOTC by hiring eligible veterans and receiving a credit against the employer's share of Social Security taxes.

For more details on these credits see the Department of Labor website or the IRS website.

Many military veterans will also be eligible for a variety of programs that can contribute to their professional development and their ability to relocate or retrain.

Through the Veterans Benefits Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers educational benefits, home loans and a variety of technical and employment training programs.

Conclusion: Veterans Have the Skillset Top Companies Are Looking to Hire

JP Morgan Chase leads a coalition of 230 firms involved in the Veteran Jobs Mission, which plans to hire 1 million vets by 2025, having already hit its earlier target of 100,000.

Lessons learned from the initial 100,000 jobs initiative can help CEOs and hiring managers seeking to further increase their return on investment as they develop their own veteran hiring initiatives.

Top Lessons Learned for Recruiting and Retaining Veteran Hires

  • Educate managers on the value of veteran employees so they see the business case clearly.
  • Improve the cultural competency of those who hire and interact with veterans, focusing on awareness of issues specific to the military community.
  • Allocate recruitment resources strategically by tracking which job fairs and other recruitment tools show the most benefits.
  • Take advantage of federal resources that allow companies to connect with and train transitioning veterans early in the process.
  • Invest resources in onboarding, career development and retention—not just recruitment.
  • Track veteran recruitment, performance, and retention metrics to gain a deeper understanding of which strategies are most effective and which offer the greatest return on investment.

We asked VA Claims Insider CEO Brian Reese, who has personally hired hundreds of military veterans since 2016, what he looks for in a resume of a veteran.

He replied, “I hire for fit and train for skill. Veterans bring heart and hustle to our team and can flat out get the job done at a high-level.”

“Hiring Managers need to realize that a veteran’s resume might not fit a specific role exactly, but guess what, it doesn’t need to. Instead, focus on the veteran’s leadership and management experience, along with their ability to build and lead high-performing teams that win,” said Reese.

Ralph Doran of Stanley Black & Decker takes a similar approach for hiring vets, explaining that their unconventional resumes are exactly what makes them so valuable.

“While veteran resumes may not read like the natural industry progressions we see in other talent, they clearly reflect everything we are looking for.” - Ralph Doran, National Recruiting Manager at Stanley Black & Decker