Revisiting the Business Case and Strategy for Hiring a Veteran

Article is the second offering of the IVMF and USAA Workforce Readiness Research Series

Paper2_BusinessCaseThe Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), in collaboration with USAA, today released the second paper in its employment-focused research series that emphasizes how employers can turn veteran talent into a competitive advantage in talent acquisition, talent deployment and talent development.

Revisiting the Business Case for Hiring a Veteran: A Strategy for Cultivating Competitive Advantage,” responds to recent focus and debate on measuring companies’ return on investment for their veteran hiring programs. The paper first cautions industry leaders against fixating on a single or generalized benchmark for their veteran hiring programs. Rather, return on investment is unique to the firm, given that each has their own reasons for creating a veteran initiative. Second, the paper draws upon business research to argue that leaders can only realize value from their programs by enacting a purposeful strategy to place veterans – which are a rare, valuable and differentiated resource – to their best use within the company. The article concludes by offering a broad framework and recommendations to guide leaders in developing their own strategy toward leveraging veterans toward gaining a competitive advantage.

According to the article’s author, Dr. Mike Haynie, Executive Director of the IVMF, and Vice Chancellor of Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University, “While the intent of this article is to inform and support C-suite leaders, HR executives, and front-line managers on how to create value for the firm from a veteran employment program, it is also true that developing firm-level strategies that fully leverage this unique talent pool is aligned with our collective goal to advance social, economic, and wellness outcomes for the nation’s veterans and their families.”

As private-sector veteran hiring programs have evolved and matured over the past decade, discourse related to veterans’ employment is beginning to take a subtle but important shift in tone and substance. Specifically, today’s drumbeat—originating from C-suite leaders, HR executives, and front-line managers alike—has increasingly focused on the ways and means to best quantify the value created for the firm, given the investment required to resource and sustain a veteran-employment program.

“USAA is very excited to partner with IVMF and keep these important issues of veteran workforce readiness a top priority for company leaders and hiring managers,” said Mike Kelly, Assistant Vice President of Military Advocacy as USAA. “Throughout our history, we’ve recognized the significance of military talent in creating an effective and engaged workforce and we have an obligation to help other employers recognize the unique value veterans bring to the workplace. Supporting the great work at IVMF allows us to deliver on that commitment.”

View/download the paper in its entirety – IVMF Workforce Readiness Paper.

Contact Wayne Westervelt, IVMF Director of Communications, at 315.443.5690; mobile 315.558.9483 or for more information or to schedule an interview.

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About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF at IVMF.


About USAA

The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 11.4 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit


About the Workforce Readiness Briefs

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), as part of its broader employment research series, and with the generous financial support and collaboration of USAA, is exploring the topic of workforce readiness as it relates to transitioning service members and veterans in the civilian labor force. This paper marks the second in a series of short Workforce Readiness Briefs that will cover several related topics such as:

  • understanding how the concept of workforce readiness applies to transitioning service members and veterans
  • examining interactions between career preferences, job matching, performance, and retention
  • exploring the links between financial readiness, spouse employment, and workforce readiness
  • employer perspectives on workforce readiness and key factors and practices that influence retention and job satisfaction among veteran employees

For more information, visit IVMF- Revisiting the Business Case for Hiring a Veteran.

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