Hyland is a Military Friendly Employer!

Military Friendly® Employers Gold Award! We did it! Receiving this award is something I didn’t think was possible just two short years after we formed the Veteran Employees Resource Group (VERG). But as I think back, Hyland has always been there for its veterans. So this great honor shouldn’t be such a surprise.

For example, showing up for my interview, I was extremely nervous, as I am sure most people are. When the group I was with met our interviewers, mine approached me and said, “Hi, I’m Kevin. I saw you were a vet and wanted to be the one to interview you.”

Unfortunately, I had bad experiences at my last job. I constantly heard things like, “Well, if you weren’t military…” or “You wouldn’t understand because you are a Marine.”

So I kind of expected all companies to have this general attitude toward the veteran population. But sitting in that corner office on the second floor, I realized Hyland is where I wanted to make my career.

“I was in the Air Force for a long time,” Kevin told me, “so anything you need to tell me from your time as a Marine, just tell me and I can relate it to what we do here.”

For any veteran who has interviewed, one of the hardest things to do is translate what we did in the military to a civilian role. Not because it is difficult finding a match for the job you did, but the other things that come with rank and position. Trying to explain the other tertiary duties of being a squad leader, platoon sergeant, or even a company commander could take hours.

But having someone sitting across from me, who not only understood what I did, but was able to match it to traits his organization was looking for in new employees was mind-blowing. I instantly relaxed and apparently, the interview went well because here I am five years later writing this post!

Finding the right place

Hyland has always done something special for its veterans. I remember my second Veterans Day at Hyland. When I came in to work, there was a note on my desk and a coffee mug that said, “Thank you for serving.”

And my first Veterans Day at Hyland? Well, that day will always stick with me since that was actually my first day as a Hylander.

It was shortly after I joined, and we published a web page to highlight veterans at Hyland. Nothing big; just a short bio, picture, and quotes from about 10 of us. At the time, there were maybe 20 declared veterans at Hyland. But this page is what started bringing us together. It would be the start of the VERG.

The VERG was Hyland’s first Employee Resource Group (ERG), and we came out of the gate running! Rapidly after forming the VERG, we started to give back to our current and future veterans.  Just a few of the things we were able to do were:

  • An additional floating holiday to all vets for Veterans Day, as a thank you for their service
  • T-shirts and other Hyland veteran swag
  • Dedicated Veteran Mentors for all new employees
  • Assistance with recruiting and interviewing

Easing the transition to civilian life

The most significant things to me personally are the Veteran Mentors and the assistance we provide to the recruiting and interviewing process. Making the transition from military life to civilian life can be challenging, to say the least. Especially more so the longer you served.

Here at Hyland, we want to make the transition as easy as possible. When you are serving, you know exactly where you fit in, and where everyone around you fits in. All you have to do is look at his or her collar, and you know if someone is your superior, peer, or subordinate. In some services, they even have devices to annotate what someone’s job is.

The civilian world is a bit different, especially if you are in a leadership position. Because of this, we give every new vet a dedicated Veteran Mentor. When we assign a mentor, we match service for service and department for department. This empowers the mentor to answer questions new employees may be too nervous to ask. It also gives new employees a direct conduit into the VERG.

This shows our new employees we are there to help and support them in their careers as Hylanders.

Recruiting vets

We also lend our support to our recruiting team, attending veteran job fairs and hiring events. We send veterans from various departments to these events, and many times, these vets are not recruiters. They’re attending to help veterans successfully cross the bridge into civilian life.

When we began to get involved with recruiting we asked the simple question, “Would you send a graduate of The Ohio State University to the University of Michigan to recruit? If not, then why send civilians to talk to veterans?”

If you go to a job fair now, you’ll notice that veterans staff our table, and you can tell the difference at our area. Most other companies send recruiters to these events who are not veterans, and it shows. Our tables get more traffic and have longer, more involved conversations than the others.

A good example is the vets we have coming to us and saying, “I’ve heard about your company, and would love to work there, but I’m not sure if there is something I can do there.”

We can ask the vet what they did while they were in, and have meaningful conversations. This insight gives us the ability to match them with a job they might never have thought of before, opening up new career paths for veterans. It also helps Hyland because we find highly qualified, highly motivated applicants.

Joining a new family

Everything we have done for veterans, and everything we plan to do in the future, are some of the many reasons I love being a Hylander. Being a Military Friendly Employer says so much about our company and our culture. It shows we back up our words with action and commitments.

We don’t just say, “We hire veterans.” We say, “We hire them, and here is everything we do to ensure they can have a successful career here.”

I’m proud to say that, in a little over two years, the VERG went from an idea to a nationally recognized program. We couldn’t have done that as quickly as we did if we didn’t have buy-in and support from the entire organization.

Hyland’s core values of integrity, family, passion, partnership and solutions are similar to the Army core values and Midwestern values that are a part of my personal value system.

– Drew Chapin, VP of Marketing

This reflects on the commitment Hyland has made on all levels to hiring and retaining veterans. From our employees to our executive sponsor Drew Chapin, our VP of Marketing, and our CEO Bill Priemer, everyone in this company works together to let our veterans know: You may have left one family when you left the service, but welcome to your new family.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this award happen. Going forward, the Hyland VERG is significantly positioned to be the leader and set the example when it comes to veteran employee groups. I know 2018 is going to be a banner year for the VERG.

Joe Kocsis

Joe Kocsis

After spending 12 years active duty in the Marine Corps, Joe joined Hyland the day after Veterans Day, 2012. Joe initially spent five years in Technical Support rising to the position of Team Leader and is currently a developer in R&D. Joe is an active member of the VFW and IAVA.

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