It’s the eve of Veterans’ Day 2019 and we have the Green Bay Packers versus Carolina Panthers game on the television. I’m putzing around, cleaning up after dinner, when a commercial catches my ear. A man says, “I sent out application after application, but nobody hired me.”
As a former agency and corporate recruiter, and someone who’s committed her life to helping people find jobs and companies hire better, I stopped what I was doing and was compelled to watch.
This 30-second commercial spot features Ken, a U.S. Navy veteran. But this is more than a commercial. It’s a short, well-told story about how Ken transitions from military service to civilian life. On the screen a statistic is shared, “When transitioning into civilian life, 80% of veterans experience a period of unemployment.” Cut to Comcast, one of the largest video, Internet, and phone providers in the United States. In writing, on live television for all to see is an employer brand promise that Comcast is making:
“Comcast pledges to hire 21,000 military service members by 2021.”
Watch full video here >
According to CNBC, every year, 200,000 military veterans return to their communities. In February 2019, my brother was one of them. He retired after 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Years ago, I recall him joking that when he retired “he’d be cutting keys” at a local hardware store. There was a degree of uncertainty knowing that once his 20 years were up, he’d be starting over. There was a level of anxiety in having to find a job fitting of his experience, skills, and leadership capabilities.
I’m proud to say my brother graduated from HVAC school in October 2019, top of his class, with a job offer in hand. For others looking for career opportunities, it’s important that companies, like Comcast, get the message out that they are committed to hiring the men and women who put their lives on the line for all of us back home.
In addition to airing this commercial, Comcast does an excellent job of sharing their commitment to the Veteran and Military community via their careers site. The opening sentence of their Military Engagement page is exceptionally powerful. “Our tradition of hiring and supporting the military community began with our founder, World War II U.S. Navy veteran Ralph Roberts, and has continued to today.” As I scroll down the page, it’s clear their commitment is true. Video content, statistics, and press kits become proof points.
If you have ever wondered how to share your organization’s commitment to hiring our heroes, I recommend spending some time on Comcast Careers, as well as Gartner and AT&T. All three organizations do an excellent job of communicating why hiring veterans is important and what they offer in return. For even more information on how to start a military hiring program at your company, visit the U.S. Department of Labor “Hire a Veteran” page.
Shannon Smedstad (@shannonsmedstad) is the proud sister of a U.S. Navy veteran, daughter-in-law to a U.S. Navy veteran, and granddaughter to WWII U.S. Marine.