Military spouses—the husbands and wives or military members—offer an incredible value as an employee and leader for any type of business. Military spouses are centrally found, disciplined, educated, and a great workforce. Business leaders potentially overlook military spouses as a strong employment base due to their moves every 2-3 years, sometimes erratic schedules, and business experience.
Follow these steps to take full advantage of military spouses in your organization:
Leverage unique military spouse backgrounds
The only thing typical about military spouses is that there is nothing typical about military spouses. Educational backgrounds range from High School graduates to PhD’s in various disciplines. Military spouses will also have a wide range of experience working in business as well as stints of entrepreneurship. The summation for these class of employees is an educated, experienced, and motivated group. The question for a business is how do I take advantage of all these skill sets? Can military spouses with entrepreneurship help me start a new business? Can a military spouse who is a lawyer in Japan perform overnight contract work so draft contracts take days to complete instead of weeks? Can a socially connected military spouse be a member of my sales team?
Redesign your positions
Instead of thinking how to get military spouses into your traditional organization structure, undertake a full or partial redesign of your positions. Air BnB, Uber, Lyft and others have taught us that workers of all generations view work flexibility as a primary requirement for either full or part time employment. The traditional concepts of a traditional workplace are fading fast. Instead, of bemoaning the change happening in all businesses, use it to your advantage. Create positions ranging from full to ¼ time to a short-term sabbatical. The benefits of this flexible position structure will allow you to fully maximize military spouse time and create a loyal employee base.
Use global coverage to your advantage
To use the old maxim from the British Empire, the sun never sets on military spouses. Military spouses are concentrated in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, California, Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan, Middle East, Germany, Italy, and United Kingdom. If you need an operation that requires 24/7/365 global coverage with great businesspeople, then military spouses are the “go to” solution for your business.
Make the best use of technology
Technology like high-speed internet, PC’s, standard software, and video conferencing make military spouses appear next door to your customers, not across the globe. Remote employee technology has improved rapidly, produces great results, and it is not cost prohibitive. For training, you can use technology, or you can take advantage of the geographic concentration of military spouses and give training around major military bases. Over time, you can create a cadre of spouse trainers and technical support on each major base to further improve the use of technology.
Don’t overlook military spouses from Guard & Reserves
Some positions cannot be redesigned to work remotely, and this is where military spouses of the Guard and Reserve come into value. Military spouses in the Guard and Reserves are members of the community and have more “traditional” schedules that make them available for full or part time work. In addition, most tend to be more geographically stable than other military spouses. Finally, these spouses stand for a great way to create strong word of mouth and social media buzz for your business.
Be creative with compensation
For active military spouses and some Guard and Reserve spouses, their military spouses already have healthcare and other forms of traditional employee benefits. Do not use the “one size fits all” compensation structure. Instead, can you offer a mixed range of financial, healthcare, and retirement benefits? Some spouses may only want financial compensation where others will want the full range of compensation packages. This flexibility and creativity alone in compensation will guarantee you a very qualified applicant pool and workforce.
Engage the military spouse search for purpose
Delivering work that is filled with purpose is one of the greatest challenges for a business. A business that can create a purpose driven business model and work force has incredible business and social value. The creation of a strong sense of purpose is vital to fully engage military spouses. An engaged workforce is more productive, more creative, and creates greater business value.
Military spouses are an incredible value for business when the business looks to fully benefit from the wide range of skills, abilities, and knowledge base that military spouses have.