How Military Veterans Can Help Solve Talent Shortage Crisis

Many veterans already have the skills and temperament required to fill jobs ranging from technicians, sales and operations.

A talent crisis existed in the commercial security industry long before labor shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with companies struggling to attract and retain qualified candidates for jobs ranging from technicians and operations, to sales and leadership.

But by actively targeting candidates coming out of the U.S. military, ADT Commercial identified the incredible opportunity to recruit top quality candidates for a variety of roles and place them in positions where they can thrive, make significant contributions, and enhance their careers — all while addressing the significant impact of the industry talent crisis.

To help drive technical expertise and professionalism industry-wide, fellow industry organizations industry-wide can adopt similar military veteran recruiting efforts as we work collectively to help build the next generation of security leaders.

At ADT Commercial, we recognize that hiring and keeping the right people on board is at the very heart of delivering the kind of quality customer service needed to fuel our growth in an increasingly competitive and technology-driven business landscape.

Key members of ADT Commercial’s senior leadership team come from strong military backgrounds, so as we worked to address this issue and find the right candidates for important roles, our leaders directed us to focus our energies on recruiting military veterans because of the wide range of skillsets, training, and the discipline our nation’s veterans could add to our growing company.

Aside from technical training, military service very often cultivates the ability to work well on teams, or effectively lead teams to solve problems and manage projects. Yet, as they transition from the military, veterans may not be well-equipped to market themselves or be skilled at recognizing career opportunities in the private sector that match their unique skillsets.

Historically, hiring companies tend to be reactive in their search for candidates by primarily looking at the qualifications of those who apply for open positions. We shifted our approach and sharpened our focus to look specifically for military veterans coming from jobs where their skills and training could apply to the jobs we needed to fill.

An artillery specialist might not realize how important their attention to detail could be, or an electronics technician might not know how valuable those skills would translate to the security, fire and life-safety field. By proactively reaching out to these veterans, we could help them see themselves in new roles and in the work we do to keep our customers, their people and their assets safe.

Our first actions included actively using RecruitMilitary as well as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, both resources for veterans who are looking for careers as they transition from the military. In addition to sponsoring hiring events — both in-person and virtual — RecruitMilitary also offers hiring companies access to a database with the resumes of potential candidates.

It takes some effort to review resumes and qualifications, but much of the heavy lifting is done for you with the organization’s pre-screening and candidate pre-matching. The job fairs or hiring events are held frequently at various locations — or remotely — across the country.

Participating in these events has been our most direct and effective way to find, meet and recruit candidates with the skills that match our needs for a variety of positions, including sales, installation and service, project management and logistics.

In 2021, 8% of every single new hire we made came from the military. When we first began this effort, the 10% mark initially set as our goal seemed like a lofty target to work toward. But our success thus far shows that we are on the right trajectory to continue meeting or exceeding that goal and setting new standards for the future.

Another effective method that has helped us proactively recruit potential new hires has been the Hire Our Heroes (HOH) program, offered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Through HOH, active-duty military members who are transitioning out of military service continue to be paid by the government with benefits while they gain real-time, on-the-job experience with member companies.

For example, a 20-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran was hired by ADT Commercial under the HOH Corporate Fellowship program and has since joined the company as a full-time employee focused on cultivating relationships with strategic partners, helping recruit and develop new talent to create an impact across the organization.

Our recently promoted Vice President of Operations is a former Navy warfare technician who first transitioned to an installation technician job, has continued to work his way up in the organization and credits his military training for much of his success.

Beyond its military-focused hiring initiatives and embracing a military affective culture to help drive and sustain business growth, others in the industry can draw from our experiences to identify, develop, and advocate for the next generation of security professionals while also helping those who have volunteered to serve our country as they make the successful transition to productive lives in the civilian workforce.

Zackery Morris is Director of Career Programs for ADT Commercial.

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