The Bullseye - November 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

In This Issue:
How to Groom Leaders Your Company Needs,
Share Your Alumni Update with Us!,
Industry Spotlight: Veterans at Work in Food & Beverage,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Most Unusual Excuses for Missing Work,
Thanks for Helping us Reach 2500 Likes on Facebook,
Connect with Orion

How to Groom 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.

Share Your Alumni Update With Us!

 Do you have an update to share with us?  Did you get promoted, have a new addition to your family or any other news you’d like to share?  Click here to tell us about it!


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 popular career paths in which veterans excel are Production Supervisor and Maintenance Technician. 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.

Congratulations to This Month's Winner

Phillip Hicks won the Job Seeker Referral monthly drawing

 and is the winner of a $50 gift card.  

Ready for your chance to win a $50 gift card? You’ll receive an entry into our monthly drawings for Client and Job Seeker referrals for each referral that you submit – good luck and thank you for the referral!

2013’s Most Unusual Excuses for Missing Work

Once again, releases this year’s most bizarre excuses for missing work, collected from their annual employer’s survey of the most strange, eccentric, or downright crazy excuses they’ve heard from employees as to why they can’t report to the office. Below some of the more unusual answers:

  • Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway.
  • Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday, so he needed Monday to recover.
  • Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy.
  • Someone glued an employee’s doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work.
  • Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk.
  • Employee couldn’t make it in because a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle.
  • Employee missed his shift because the chemical in his turkey made him fall asleep.
  • Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in.
  • Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI.
  • Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping.
  • Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket.
  • Employee got lost and ended up in another state.
  • Employee couldn’t decide what to wear.

Read the full article to learn more about employee “sick time” habits.

Thank you for helping us reach 2500 LIKES on Facebook!


We appreciate the support and are proud to have helped nearly 30,000 veterans in their transition to a civilian career since 1991. If you haven’t joined us online yet, we’d love to have you!


Connect with Orion

Join Orion International's Alumni Group


Join Orion on Facebook

Read Orion's Blog


 Follow us on Google+