The Sword - October 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Industry Spotlight: Veterans at Work in Food & Beverage,
Upcoming Hiring Conferences,
How to Groom the Leaders Your Company Needs,
Meet Our Candidates,
National Distinguished Candidate Conference,
The Office Workplace: An Evolving Space,
According to Our Clients,
Refer a Colleague to Hire Military Talent,
Connect with Orion

Industry Spotlight: Veterans at Work in Food & Beverage

The Food & Beverage industry is one that encompasses everything from logistics to manufacturing to marketing to finance to R&D. According to a KPMG 2012 Industry Outlook Survey, executives in the industry indicate that they are more focused on talent management/retention initiatives compared to last year’s survey results, with an increased emphasis on compensation and training. And more than half of the executives surveyed stated that revenue is up and that they believe their companies will increase the number of US employees in the next year. The many career paths available to job seekers make for widely ranging recruiting needs that encompass varied skill sets. This, coupled with expected growth both in revenue and hiring, makes veterans an excellent choice for Food & Beverage hiring managers.

Fortune 500 companies like Hershey, Kraft Foods, and ConAgra Food subsidiary, Lamb Weston, as well as Nestle Waters, part of Nestle, which was named one of the world's top ten most reputable companies this year, are proving this to be true with hiring initiatives aimed directly at veterans. These military-friendly companies are committed to hiring veterans throughout their ranks and are offering them excellent leadership development, benefits, and incentives.

One of the reasons these companies are turning to veterans is revealed in the KPMG survey. Lack of a qualified workforce went from being the eighth top barrier to growth in 2011 to sixth in 2012. As in so many other industries, food & beverage companies are not only finding skilled employees in veterans but also an innovative answer to their labor shortage.

Positions in this industry are widely varied thanks to the many different functions it takes to research, create, move, and sell food & beverage. Two typical positions that are ideally suited for Veterans are Production Supervisors, and Maintenance Technicians. While it may not be immediately apparent how military jobs translate to these positions, military occupations like a Public Works Operations Officer,  Maintenance and Production Chief, Infrastructure Systems Superintendent, and Maintenance Management Specialist are just a few that cross-over well.

Former Marine Corps Ground Supply Officer Jordan Odegaard is an Orion alumnus who began a new career as a Production Supervisor with Hershey earlier this year. Odegaard served as an Officer-in-Charge of a section and dealt with a variety of personnel issues that he now faces in his civilian position. “In both my current civilian position and previous military position, I must be flexible with my hours, care about the people I supervise, work closely with peers, constantly learn new things, make monetary decisions, model professional behavior, adhere to standards, hold employees accountable, exercise problem solving skills, analyze cost-benefit scenarios, handle HR issues (harassment, absences), etc. ,” he explains, “Ultimately, it comes down to adhering to set standards, and holding others to those standards.”

Another Orion alumnus in this industry is Joshua Hart. He says that his military career as a Gunner´s Mate in the Navy polished his punctuality, ability to work under high stress conditions, and leadership, making them as flawless as possible in preparation for his career as a Mechatronics Technician. “The most rewarding thing about the career I am starting is the combination of school and OJT experience I receive. Hershey´s is a giant family. It´s just like in the military where you work together to get the job done,” Hart says.

Whether it’s chocolate, macaroni & cheese, or bottled water, globally recognized companies are finding talented employees in veterans. Want to read more about a day in the life of a veteran in the industry? Check out this GI Jobs article about Syrhan Biray and his career at Hershey.

Upcoming Hiring Conferences

Orion Military Hiring Conferences – Interview Junior Military Officers,
Noncommissioned Officers and Enlisted Technicians Recruited for your Hiring Needs

An Orion Hiring Conference is your chance to interview the best military job seekers, selected specifically for your open positions. You will be presented with prescreened, qualified and suitably matched veterans that are interested in your available opportunities. Click on the dates below to learn more about our upcoming hiring conferences. 

Parsippany, NJ

Virginia Beach, VA

Philadelphia, PA

October 14

December 9



Atlanta, GA

Raleigh, NC


 Chicago, IL DCC

Chicago, IL (Technical positions)

Cincinnati, OH

October 28-29

South Central  

Houston, TX

Houston, TX

October 28


Seattle, WA

San Diego, CA

November 8

December 9

How to Groom the Leaders Your Company Needs

Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) are more than the latest buzz phrase in recruitment. These programs are an excellent way to parlay leaders from the nation’s military into leaders at your company. Aimed at Junior  Military  Officers  who  have  a strong  track  record  of  performance, implementing an LDP is an excellent way to combine the best practices that will help retain your best veteran employees with practical training like rotational   opportunities,   classroom   development,   and   varied assignments. 

LDP opportunities are not as common as traditional management, engineering or sales opportunities and are a unique opportunity for job seekers.  Only a small percentage of companies offer these intensive programs, but they reap highly qualified, loyal leaders. We have found LDPs to result in an average retention rate of greater than 90% at two years, thanks in part to the inclusion of veteran affinity groups and mentorship programs in the programs.

A review of the concerns of our own transitioning veterans reveals that LDPs are great answer to the expectations many military leaders have as they transition. Having come from an environment where training is paramount and their role career progression  is clearly defined, civilian careers can often appear unclear in terms of training, job responsibilities, and, perhaps most importantly, career advancement. LDPs not only onboard and train your employees, but they also provide a concrete career path.

As your veteran employees  progress  through  an  LDP,  they  will  gain  valuable  experience  needed  to  lead  and succeed at the highest levels within your organization, as well as gain exposure to various  business units within the company in order to increase their knowledge base. LDPs fit well into many different industries and can encompass Operations Leadership, Sales and Marketing, as well as Engineering:

Typical Operations LDPs require new team members to complete initial training, rotate through various operational facilities for both on the job training and curriculum based training, and work with LDP mentors on a periodic basis.  Some Operations LDPs require rotation through various business units, as well, to gain exposure to marketing, finance, sales, and other roles. This provides the understanding of the business your new employee will need  to  function  as  a  future  leader  in  the  organization,  but  may  also  result  in  helping  them  find  their  niche  within  the organization. After completing this type of LDP, employees will be assigned a permanent role in operations.

A Sales and Marketing Development Program combines   various   business   and   technical   learning   workshops,   networking opportunities  with  various  levels  of  the  organization,  and  separate  job  rotation  assignments. Rotations typically include a field sales assignment, a marketing assignment, and other various business unit assignments. Participants receive hands-on mentoring, travel opportunities, classroom development, and networking opportunities.

Engineering  Development  Program  participants  are  typically  placed  at  a manufacturing  plant  or  oil  and  gas refinery  for  training.  During  this  time,  they are  mentored  by  seasoned technical  professionals  and  confront  vast  technical  challenges  found  in  these environments.  Examples of formal training include safety leadership, manufacturing processes and product, applied statistics, and leadership development. At the conclusion of training, graduates are placed in a full-time assignment as a Manufacturing or Project Engineer.

A great example of a Leadership Development Program at work can be found in Brian Schulz and his career with Medtronic Spinal & Biologics. Hired as part of a Sales Development Program in 2007, Schulz had no healthcare and/or sales experience but excellent potential. Medtronic heavily recruited people with prior military experience for this program, because they recognized the valuable skill sets veterans had learned while on active duty.

Medtronic's program is 18 months in duration with the first four to six months spent learning the concepts of Spine and Biologics Sales, gaining exposure to business functions, assisting with sales and surgeon training labs, and providing other sales support. In the next phase, participants spend approximately 12-14 months in the field with a mentor/trainer, interacting with customers, and learning, observing, and performing the day-to-day activities of a Commissioned Spine Representative. At the end of the program, they are eligible for opportunities as a Commissioned Spine Representative.

It appears the program has paid off, as Schulz is now a District Sales Manager with Medtronic.  “In addition to being voted the ‘most valuable person’ on my first district sales team, I received a ‘40 under 40 Award’ given by the Billings Gazette and the Roche Jaune Award by the Billings Chamber of Commerce for Salesperson Excellence,” Schulz explains, “My first award was especially rewarding, because it helped me recognize that while I had the least sales experience on the team, I was still able to be seen as an asset by my teammates. I discovered that the leadership, teamwork, and mission focus I learned in the military was directly transferable to my civilian job.”

In addition to LDPs or when they are not an option, many companies try to institute at least a few veteran-friendly programs. Examples include featuring veterans on your website that are currently succeeding in the types of positions you’re seeking to fill with veterans.  You can also design and implement military friendly HR policies and practices.  Finally, many companies create programs designed to assist veterans with transition matters by matching them up with other veterans.

Companies like Medtronic, Siemens, Safeway, Owens Corning, and Kansas City Southern Railroad have realized the benefit of an LDP both to their companies and to their veteran employees. And while implementing such a program takes resources, it can more than pay off in the end.   LDPs are a great system for cultivating enthusiastic employees who feel prepared for their new leadership role within your company.

Meet Our Candidates

The battle for talent in the workplace can be fierce.  It doesn't have to be if you know where to look. Below is a preview of actual Orion International candidates and the valuable skills and experience they possess.

Quartermaster Officer with Civilian Project Engineer Experience View Resume

Financial Program Manager View Resume

Senior Human Resources Manager View Resume

Battalion Intelligence Officer View Resume

Nuclear Facilities Supervisor View Resume

Nuclear Electrician's Mate View Resume

Reactor Control Division Leading Petty Officer View Resume

Nuclear Machinist Mate View Resume

National Distinguished Candidate Conference

Mark your calendar for our upcoming National Distinguished Candidate Conferences:

Chicago, IL
October 28-29

Since 1991, our clients have told us that the most important factor in deciding to hire military through an agency is the Quality of Candidate. Our unique Distinguished Candidate Conferences are designed to recruit, assess, screen, and present the top military candidates for your hiring needs. In 2012, more than 50 client companies strategically hired Orion’s Military Officers through our Distinguished Candidate Conferences, with nearly 50% making multiple hires.

Orion’s Distinguished Candidates are carefully selected and represent the very top tier of Military Officers transitioning from Active Duty. They are seeking careers in growth roles including Leadership Development, Operations Management, Engineering, and Sales.

Our Junior Military Officer Candidates at these National Events:

  • Service Academy Graduates and graduates of the nation’s top universities.
  • Candidates with MBAs and other advanced degrees; and those with PMPs, PEs, and other professional certifications.
  • Candidates who have consistently ranked well above their peers in their professional military evaluations.
  • Willing to relocate and geographically flexible.

Distinguished Candidate Conference Highlights:

  • These events will feature 30 minute Client Presentations in which you can present to the candidates you’ll be interviewing in advance. We recommend a C-level or VP Presenter for client presentations.
  • Enjoy an additional opportunity for socializing with the candidates and other Hiring Managers, at our President’s Reception following the Keynote Address on Monday evening.
  • Pre-screened, assessed, qualified Officer Candidates suitably matched for your particular hiring needs.
  • A private and professional interview setting.
  • Personalized attention to ensure the best in customer service, including insight on the candidates and advice on the most effective hiring strategy.

In addition, Orion’s Executive Leadership Team will be available throughout these events to meet and discuss your company’s talent planning and how our dedicated on-boarding programs, assessment tools, and other enterprise-scale service offerings may be able to support your organization in 2013 and beyond.

What do our clients have to say about the caliber of candidates at an Orion Distinguished Candidate Conference?

"Our experience at Orion's Distinguished Candidate Conference was a great success. The candidates were of the highest caliber and extremely well matched for our Leadership Development Program. This event enabled us to hire 5 outstanding JMOs very efficiently, saving weeks of time. I look forward to seeing the impact these new leaders will have on BP." - Program Manager, BP

Our Distinguished Candidate Conferences enable you to develop a strong pipeline of future leaders and foster strategic organizational growth.

Learn more about our Distinguished Candidate Conferences and discover for yourself the impact a Military Officer can have on your organization.

The Office Workplace: An Evolving Space

With the rise of the start-ups and the influence of innovative and alternative tech companies come a change in today’s office environment, most specifically in the actual office structure and layout.

Today’s offices are now moving away from the typical cubicles and private offices, with companies opting instead for open floor plans, smaller conference rooms, and break rooms that look more like lounges. The smaller office space is due in part to a higher percentage of the workforce telecommuting, along with the aim to increase workplace productivity.

“Think about a city park with a soccer field, a picnic table area and a grassy area,” explains Randy Howder, senior workplace strategist at Gensler, a design and architecture firm. “That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about where office design is going.”

The trend for smaller offices started in the technology industry, where the need for employees to be in an office space was not a priority – after all, with the rise of telecommuting, the invention of Wi-Fi, and the ability to hold conferences virtually with people from all over the world, a smaller office space was not a hindrance but could actually work to a company’s advantage. Employees can work anywhere, as long as they have a space to plug in a laptop.

Of course, this idea of a “free” and flexible employee not anchored down does not work for all industries, yet more and more companies are tapping into the smaller office trend, hoping to engage their employees in collaborating together to increase productivity and come up with innovative ideas – hence a welcoming lounge area instead of a contained lunch or break room.

However, an open, more collaborative space could actually be a hindrance to your company. While some employees may thrive on a more casual office floor plan, distractions are more frequent, and many workers may find themselves struggling with concentrating on a specific task.

In response to this issue, those offices with open-concept floor plans have allocated rooms equipped with desks and high walls that act as a makeshift privacy area for those employees who prefer to work with little to no distractions.

Even with the shift in the way offices are structured, the best office plan is one that takes the employees’ work habits, the type of work being done, and the needs of the company to come up with a productive work environment for all.

Does your office have what it takes to be named by Forbes as the top 10 cool office spaces? Click out the link to view some amazing offices (one company has designed a hallway to look like a New York subway!).

Related Articles:

Make Your Office Space More Productive and Fun

Better office design isn’t just about open space. Here’s a new theory

According to Our Clients

““I thought the hiring conference experience was excellent, and I enjoyed it.” – Dwayne Plyman, Honeywell

Refer a Colleague to Hire Military Talent

Is your company or that of a friend or colleague in need of military talent? For every referral you provide, you will be automatically entered into our monthly drawing for a $50 gift card. Even better, if your referral results in a placement, you will personally receive a $100 gift card as our way of saying thank you. As always, we will maintain your privacy and never share your information nor that of your referral.

Click here to refer a colleague to hire military talent now!

Connect with Orion

Did you know that there are several ways to connect with Orion and learn how veterans impact the civilian workforce?

• You can join our LinkedIn group for employers, Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet®. This group is a great way to show your support of veterans in the civilian workforce.

• Read our blog, Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet®. This blog covers everything from veterans in the news to general employer-employee relations. Check it out!

• You can follow Orion on Twitter (@hirevets) to receive updates about Orion, learn about upcoming hiring events, and find links to articles of interest.

• Orion is now on Google+! Follow us to keep up to date on all things Orion. 

Join Orion’s Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet group on LinkedIn

 Read Orion's Blog

Find us on Twitter

Follow @hirevets


 Follow us on Google+