Tel: (844) 400-SAVI (7284) info@savivets.org

It’s no secret that transitioning to the civilian workforce after the military can be challenging. In fact, so many former soldiers find this process to be a culture shock that only 1 in 5 Veterans will stick out their first civilian job for more than two years.

What does this all mean for you, as an employer? There’s a huge opportunity to distinguish your organization as a place that’s committed to retaining and engaging Veteran workers. And because more than 500 service-members are transitioning to civilian life every day, one Veteran’s success story will likely attract many others.

Here are the top three things that Veterans we talked to at SAVI say employers can do to help ease their transition into civilian work life and encourage retention.

1. Speak Their Language: Between writing business-friendly resumes and translating their military skills to the civilian job market, Veterans spend a great deal of time learning the new language of civilian work culture. It wouldn’t hurt for managers and co-workers to meet them halfway on this challenge by getting more familiar with some basic military jargon and culture to make Veteran workers feel more welcomed.

Another major difference many former service-members point out about their new civilian workplaces is typically lower urgency levels. A core value of military life is timeliness, yet civilians don’t always have the same pressures to show up on time — be it for meetings or project deadlines. Keep this ingrained perspective in mind when you have a meeting with Veteran colleagues, so that you either make sure you’re punctual or, at the very least, let them know you’ll be late.

Though these differences may be seem small, they can be extremely important for managers and co-workers to address when trying to build a successful work team and relationships with a new Veteran hire.

2. (Ask to) Ask About Their Service: Military Veterans are often proud of their service — as they should be. And just like all other members of the human race, they talk about their experiences as a way to build a shared understanding with others. So, don’t be shy in letting Veterans know you’re happy to listen — but don’t force it either. For many Veterans, their military service is what first shaped their worldview, and by asking questions about their service, you may better relate to their mindset on the job. For other Veterans, being pressed for details of their service can come off as stereotyping, bring up painful memories — or even be outright prohibited by security clearance laws! A good strategy is to first ask if they want to talk about their experience serving.

Then (if they say yes), don’t just ask what branch they were in and go on your merry way. Go a level deeper to learn what their specific job was when they left their branch of service, what that role involved, and what it was like in the day-to-day. They’ll probably use some terms you don’t quite follow, so ask for a clarifying description if you need it. You don’t need to be an expert, but if you’ve done Step 1 above, you probably have at least some understanding of the military and can ask more specific questions that will get them talking — not to mention earn you some brownie points.

3. Know Their Value and Tell Them: Everyone wants to feel like they’re contributing something valuable at work, but Veterans especially are used to a career that centers on defending our country and fighting for freedom. Talk about being a meaningful mission! Because of this innate drive, make sure the Veterans on your staff know their immediate and long-term impact and that they understand the clear purpose and mission of your organization. Direct communication and feedback is not only acceptable, but preferred. By showing them in real, measurable ways how they are contributing to the success of your team (or still have room to grow), you will help give them greater job satisfaction, which for you means higher retention rates. It’s a win-win.
Want to learn more about recruiting, retaining, and engaging Veteran employees? Looking to assess the gaps and areas for improvement at your own organization? Visit our For Employers page or contact email@savivets.org.

EDUCATION TRACK

Transitioning into higher education after years of military service can seem overwhelming. But SAVI’s Education Track is designed specifically to support Veterans like you from start to finish — academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between. 

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. 

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Continuing on your professional journey after military service can be an amazing opportunity to find a new career that fulfills you and lets you thrive. Yet civilian workplace etiquette and the hiring process can be much different than what you’re used to as a service-member. The job search and performance evaluation processes are much more employee-driven, for example, and the workplace can be more isolating without the shared objective of high-stakes national defense.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to military-to-civilian transition.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Chasing your dream of self-employment can seem daunting after years of a highly structured military life. But SAVI provides the resources to help you turn this dream into a fulfilling reality — and so that you don’t have to go it alone.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration  support. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.

RETIREMENT TRACK

After serving your time in the military, it’s time to look forward toward your retirement. SAVI is here every step of the way to help you transition from service-member to thriving retiree. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.


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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
AMVETS
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

Create a Perfect Morning Routine
You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.