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Companies Doing Great Things for Veterans

Darla Atlas | People

Can a company do well and do good? The 50 firms on PEOPLE’s first annual Companies That Care list do just that. In partnership with the research firm Great Place to Work, we surveyed workers at nearly 1,000 companies across the United States. With charitable giving, community outreach and some very creative perks, these firms prove you can make a profit and make the world a better place.

The following is a list of 6 companies doing great things for veterans.

Capital One: One of the most important missions of Capital One is to support veterans and their families. The company has hired 2,500 former military members in total, including 544 in 2015, and have provided $5 million in support to the Hiring 500,000 Heroes initiative since 2012. The company has developed a hiring website specifically for veterans, where they can enter the jobs they held and skills they learned in the military.

When employees are called to active duty, Capital One makes supplemental payments to those whose military pay is lower than their Capital One base pay. They are also allowed to continue their health insurance coverage while on duty. In addition, employees who must attend military training are given 88 paid hours off by the company to do so.

Deloitte: Over the past three years, the tax firm has more than doubled the number of veterans it hires annually. Their Career Opportunity Redefinition and Exploration (CORE) program explores the skills and experience of many of the veterans as a way to help them effectively transition from a military to corporate setting.

“I come from a family of military veterans with my father, both grandfathers, many uncles and cousins all serving,” one employee says. “When I shared with my father that Deloitte had the CORE program and that I was going to participate, he was overcome with emotion. He was not only proud of me for being selected to give back to our veterans in this way, he was so proud that I work for an organization that is taking time to help set up our military veterans for success.”

Navy Federal Credit Union: Those serving in the military – as well as their spouses – are fully supported at the world’s largest credit union. Workshops are held to help the spouses plan for a career in a highly mobile environment, while NFCU helps find creative solutions to accommodate military-related relocations.

In addition, a Military Awareness Workshop helps those who haven’t served to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be a member of the military. One employee, who was an active-duty spouse, was able to transfer to two different states over a long career with the credit union.

“When I retire I will have a fully-funded pension and 401K, which I will have been building and contributing to for more than 25 years,” the worker says. “That is not the case for many people in today’s workforce.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: “In a place that most would assume as sad and depressing to work at, I find the complete opposite,” one employee says of the hospital, which treats children with pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. “It’s full of hope and inspiration.”

Amenities to help keep the staff upbeat include massages to go, auto detailing, farmers’ markets, craft fairs and hundreds of volunteer opportunities. For employees with loved ones who are deployed, St. Jude has set up a Military Support Resource Group. Members of the group take turns contacting the family to ask if they need anything – from help with the children to mowing the lawn.

USAA: The firm provides financial services to 11.4 million current and former members of the military and their families.

One way they keep in touch with those deployed is through the Pen Pal Program. Employee volunteers sign up to write to deployed employees at least once a month, simply to provide encouragement and to keep them connected to their jobs.The company also set a goal that 30 percent of all new hires be veterans and military spouses, and in 2015 it exceeded that number. In 2016, USAA honored more than 3,200 military spouses across the company during Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

In 2008, Brian Parks, a US Army veteran and IT director, started a military-style boot camp for interns and employees to help them better understand their military clientele. They wear uniforms, do push-ups and jumping jacks and run a mile and a half, all the while having orders screamed at them by a drill sergeant. “What’s beautiful about this event is the employees run the gamut — from the CEO all the way down to the member service representatives that are on the phone that touch our members on a daily basis,” says Parks, 51, who acts as senior drill sergeant at the camps. “Everyone is the same rank.”

Veterans United Home Loans: The company, which helps veterans secure home loans, promotes a sense of altruism among employees even before they start their first day. Each person receives a $10 gift card with suggestions about how they might use it to enrich someone else’s life. During orientation, employees share their stories about how they used the card, which cements the VUHL’s focus on community.

There’s also a strong focus on the employees themselves. One staff member says that when her mother passed away unexpectedly, she had no idea how to pay for the cost of the funeral.

“My co-worker reached out to our VU Foundation without me knowing and I received a check for over $5,000 to cover the cost,” she says. “They will never know how much that meant to me.”

Topics
Employment
Financial Assistance
Physical Well-Being