Some diversity executives may fear that efforts to hire veterans may draw resources and attention away from other critical aspects of diversity and inclusion strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Michele Green, vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial.
“The direct and active involvement in driving the outreach to and hiring of veterans from our most senior executive levels has spread the commitment throughout all of our employee networks and diversity efforts,” she said.
She compared it to a positive contagion, a kind of new executive energy and support to fuel a company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Since the U.S. veteran population is extremely diverse, Green said she has found that by driving veteran-related efforts the company is also simultaneously supporting its efforts to create a highly diverse workforce across other dimensions of diversity. For instance, “connecting with veterans has given us access to another highly diverse pipeline of candidates.”
To leverage a C-suite focus on veterans:
- Take advantage of the increased access to the top to illustrate how some of the support given to veterans networks can benefit other networks. For example, executive sponsorship, access to partnerships with other groups and executive speakers could benefit any employee resource group or diversity and inclusion initiative.
- Work with HR, staffing and external partners to tap into a diverse slate of veteran candidates.
- Get veteran and other employee network leaders to meet to discuss and share strategies, and look for opportunities to partner for mutual wins that will benefit the company.
Joseph Santana is a management consultant and coach with Joseph Santana LLC, a diversity and inclusion management consulting company, and author of the e-book “15 Tips to Consider as You Plan Your ERG/BRG Strategy.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.