Pointers on Managing Veterans


The new bill providing a bank of sick leave hours for new federal employees would be such a blessing. One should not have to think very hard as to how this is a win/win for everyone involved.  This is a great investment knowing that Veterans have the leave to cover them while Veterans attend their medical appointments. There would be a great disservice to Veterans to short their pay to attend appointments due to no fault of their own if they do not have enough leave to cover their full-time work schedule.

One has to consider that we have all put our lives on the line for the freedoms of others. What a small price to pay to ensure that we have the care we need. In the meantime, and mind you I even checked in my office and got some ideas from some new Veteran hires besides my own experience, so here are some pointers on managing Veterans:

  1. Set up a Veteran specific on-boarding process. There are certain features as a veteran that carry over from our military careers that affect our federal careers (think OPM and retirement calculations)
  2. Take care of your employee and they will take care of you. We learn this quite well in the military – take care of your soldier and they will take care of you
  3. Know on the outset that you have an employee who will go the distance to complete the mission
  4. Give them the intended goal, fill in a few parameters, and believe me, they will fill in the gaps to make things work. You do not have to micromanage them
  5. Encourage them – be meaningful in your discussions
  6. Be patient – the federal civilian work life is different so there needs to be some adjustment time to the culture change
  7. Realize that this is a culture shock on many levels for the veteran – both in their personal and professional lives
  8. Provide better (and perhaps even more frequent) progress talks with the veterans as they make their transition during the first year. This is not to be confused with micromanagement but more along the lines of retention building to ensure everyone is on the same page
  9. Understand that we live our lives beyond our physical abilities and that our minds are pretty sharp
  10. Help connect veterans with other veterans in the office, maybe even start a Veterans Affinity Group (we have one here at HUD). If there are even some local nonprofits that might be helpful then help research and refer to those too
  11. Know that we are thankful for our new careers and opportunity to continue serving our country albeit not in uniform anymore

Eva Fulton is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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