Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Chief Executives Need To Champion Military Veterans’ Initiatives

Veterans’ Day is a perfect time to take stock of what your company is doing with its programs for vets.

Veterans’ Day is a perfect time to take stock of what your company is doing with its programs for vets. As companies everywhere vie for great employees to make their operations prosper and grow, America’s veterans are a highly-skilled, service-focused reservoir of talent in an increasingly competitive recruiting landscape.

While there are lots of parts to creating successful initiatives for onboarding veterans, none are more important than this: Being an involved chief executive.

In the past three years, our organization, the Thayer Leadership Development Group at West Point, has identified best practices for companies in supporting veterans’ initiatives programs, working with companies of all sizes and industries such as Deloitte, ADP, EMCOR, EY, FedEx, Hilton Worldwide, IAP, Iron Sword Enterprises, Mercedes-Benz USA, Office Depot, PenFed Credit Union, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Synchrony Financial, University of Phoenix, Wyndham Worldwide and Xerox.

We’ve found there are 13 areas of focus for military/veterans’ initiatives:
1) Attracting
2) Recruiting
3) Hiring
4) Training
5) Retaining
6) Providing retail discounts to military and veterans
7) Hiring and supporting military spouses
8) Supporting employees with the New GI Bill
9) Supporting Veterans Philanthropy
10) Veterans networking within your company
11) Supporting National Reserve and Guard employees and their families
12) Purchasing from Service-Disabled Veterans-Owned Businesses and Veterans-Owned Businesses, and
13) Honoring all Veterans and Military within your company

But if you boil it down, the best programs all have the following components:
They Are CEO-driven. Whether it is a smaller company or a larger company like JP Morgan or Starbucks, the program must be championed and supported by the chief executive to gain maximum impact.
Someone is in charge. One person is responsible for overall military/veterans programs. Without a central point of contact for both internal and external personnel, military/veterans programs tend to be fragmented and not coordinated, in particular across large companies.
They are supported. Having a budget and resources to support Veterans’ Initiatives is crucial to their success. As with any corporate initiative, only the programs with funding and internal support are those that get embraced by employees.

Most large companies find that they already have veterans’ initiatives programs underway through industrious and entrepreneurial leaders within the company, many doing these projects in their free time and on their own dime. The first step is to audit what is being done, and most companies will find many ongoing efforts already underway.

By having one point of contact, typically reporting into the CEO, these programs tend to be the best and most successful. Most companies that implement military/veterans’ initiatives programs find that it is in their own self-interests—they become better companies and the overall employee base is appreciative of the efforts to support our military and our veterans.

The Chief Executive Group team would like to express its thanks to all the military and their families for all they do. 


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.