All of your employees will benefit from a sense of community, but your veteran workers will respond especially well to feeling like they belong to a team, a brotherhood or a mission. Service members are used to feeling like the people on their left and right are “in the trenches” with them. You can replicate this dynamic in your workplace by using some simple team-building techniques:
TELL YOUR BUSINESS’S “STORY” REGULARLY
Knowing how your business started will help all of your employees identify with it. Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar conglomerate or a mom-and-pop food stand, your business has a story. When your employees know the story, it helps set a foundation for community.
CREATE “SHARED EXPERIENCES” FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES
Your company culture is built on relationships. Work picnics, parties to celebrate accomplishments and even something as simple as casual Fridays—every shared experience that you can provide will help to build relationships among co-workers. Relationships are the first step toward community.
CELEBRATE VETERAN-SPECIFIC HOLIDAYS
Make all of your employees aware of Veterans Day and Memorial Day and their importance. Find ways to say thanks to your veteran employees, and encourage all employees to show their appreciation to all veterans in general, such as sending care packages to troops, supporting local military families, or organizing letter-writing efforts to veterans recovering in local hospitals. Make your veterans’ families feel at home by incorporating family events into company activities.
MAKE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS CLEAR
Employees who feel like they’re part of a group of people all working toward the same goal will be more likely to stay with you. If you can get your employees to buy in to those common business targets and direction, they will feel like their work has a purpose.
REACH OUT TO THE LARGER COMMUNITY
Building relationships with groups in your community that support veterans will help in several ways. It will give your veterans another resource. It can give your company insights into veterans’ issues you might not be aware of. It will demonstrate to your veterans how committed your company is to them. These shared experiences mentioned will help team building and will cultivate a better understanding and camaraderie between the civilian and military community. Consider finding local Team RWB or Operation Homefront chapters in your area. For national projects, Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues are excellent resources as well. Look for groups in your area—or local chapters of groups—and check this page on OurMilitary.mil about support groups to get an idea of the types of organizations you could contact.