Retaining Military Veterans in the Civilian Workforce

Patty LePage
Muma Business Review  •  Volume 4  •  2020  •  pp. 091-106
With veteran retention rates as low as 20% to 35%, in the first two years post-service transition, organizations need to have a better understanding of the factors that affect veteran churn (Ford, 2017). This high rate of churn has a huge financial impact on employers, costing billions of dollars in addition to the loss of productivity. In addition to the high cost for employers, veterans are also negatively impacted by post-service employment churn with periods of unemployment, difficulty assimilating into civilian culture, a lack of peer and social support, and social isolation.
This study provides a systematic review of the literature regarding the factors affecting veteran churn rates and how organizations can increase veteran retention. The findings of this research discussed six common themes that contribute to veteran retention and attrition: social/peer support, culture, mental and physical disabilities and functional impairment, supportive leadership, cultural competency, and mismatched job skills. The themes were viewed through the theoretical lens of social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs. The article provides concrete recommendations for employers that may help to reduce veteran churn, saving employers money and improving the veteran transition process. The recommendations, for employers, on the findings and flow through the theoretical lens and consist of: 1) culturally competent hiring and training, and 2) social/peer support and supportive leadership.
Veteran integration, veteran culture, veteran transition, cultural competency, social support, supportive leadership, social identity theory, combat disabilities, Maslow’s Hierarchy, mental health, veteran churn, veteran retention
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