Military spouses offer an incredible value as an employee for any type of business. A skeptic might first say, I was mistaken. Spouses move every 2-3 years, have erratic schedules, most have varying levels of education, and, at times, their business experience is limited. However, these are the exact qualities that make them ideal employees.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Redesign Your Positions.
Instead of thinking how to get military spouses into your traditional organization structure, undertake a full or partial redesign of your positions. Air BnB, Uber, Lyft and others have taught us that workers of all generations view work flexibility as a primary requirement for either full or part time employment. The familiar concepts of a traditional workplace are fading fast. Instead, of bemoaning the change happening in all businesses, use it to your advantage. Create positions ranging from full to ¼ time to a sabbatical. The benefits of this flexible structure are that it will allow you to fully maximize military spouse time from ¾ time (military spouse on deployment) to sabbatical (military spouse returned from deployment).
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – You Have the Globe Covered.
To use the old maxim on the British Empire, the sun never sets on military spouses. Let’s tour the globe where military spouses are concentrated. Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, California, Hawaii, Japan, the Middle East, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. If you need an operation that requires 24/7/365 global coverage with great business people, then military spouses are the “go to” solution for your business.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Make the Best Use of Technology.
Technology in the case of high speed internet, PC’s, standard software, and video conferencing make military spouses appear next door to your customers, not across the globe. Additionally, this technology has improved rapidly, it produces great results, and it’s not cost prohibitive. For training, you can use technology or you can take advantage of the geographic concentration of military spouses and give training around major military bases. Over time, you can create a cadre of spouse trainers and technical support on each major base to further improve the use of technology.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Don’t Overlook the Guard & Reserves.
Some positions cannot be redesigned to work remotely and this is where military spouses of the Guard and Reserve come into value. Military spouses in the Guard and Reserves are members of the community and have more “traditional” schedules that make them available for full or part time work. In addition, most tend to be more geographically stable than other military spouses. Finally, these spouses represent a great way to create strong word of mouth and Social Media buzz for your business.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Be Creative with Compensation.
For active military spouses and some Guard and Reserve spouses, their military spouses already have healthcare and other forms of benefits. Do not use the “one size fits all” compensation structure. Instead, you can offer a mixed range of financial, healthcare, and retirement benefits. Some spouses may only want financial compensation where others will want the full range of compensation packages. This flexibility and creativity alone in compensation will guarantee you a very qualified applicant pool and workforce.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Leverage Their Personal Backgrounds.
The only thing typical about military spouses is that there is nothing typical about military spouses. Educational backgrounds range from High School graduates to PhD’s in various disciplines. Military spouses will also have a wide range of experience working in business as well as stints of entrepreneurship. The summation for these class of employees is an educated, experienced, and motivated group. The question for a business is how do I take advantage of all these skill sets? Can military spouses with entrepreneurship help me start a new business? Can a military spouse who is a lawyer in Japan perform overnight contract work so draft contracts take days to complete instead of weeks? Can a socially connected military spouse be a member of my sales team? These ideas are only a few on how military spouse backgrounds can be leveraged to your organization’s advantage.
Military Spouses Create Value for Business – Engage Their Purpose.
Delivering work that is filled with purpose is one of the greatest challenges for a business. A business that can create a purpose driven business model and work force has incredible business and social value. The creation of a strong sense of purpose is vital to fully engage military spouses. An engaged workforce is more productive, more creative, and creates greater business value.
Military spouses are an incredible value for business when the business looks to fully benefit from the wide range of skills, abilities, and knowledge base that military spouses possess. To engage the full benefits of military spouses in your organization, follow these simple rules.
ABOUT CHAD STORLIE: Chad is the author of two books how to translate and apply military experience to business: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of service in Infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He has served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. Chad is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. Chad has been published in the Harvard Business Review blog, Military.com, and the Oxford Leadership Journal. He has been featured in news stories in Inc, Business Week, the New York Post, Federal Computer Weekly, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Chad holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.