Forty-six percent of all new-hires (including leadership positions) fail within 18 months. Add a career change to the new job, and the transition is even more difficult. Studies also show that mistakes early-on are difficult to overcome. As a result, veterans transitioning into new careers often have trouble moving to the civilian sector.  Many veterans are simply unprepared to make a rapid, successful transition into the civilian sector.

Failure Factors

Several factors limit veteran’s transition success: inadequate preparation, unexpected transitions, the loss of comrades, and experiencing traumatic events. Further, a successful civilian career is more difficult to develop after being wounded, or married while deployed. Often, these factors result in interpersonal relationship problems, legal issues, and inconsistent work-records.

The military has programs for transiting veterans. However, many former military members indicate transition assistance programs (TAP) are “useless.”  The lack of effectiveness is due to the overly generic nature of these programs. TAP programs are not specific to any employer or industry and provide little actionable information for the Veteran.

Success Factors

Successful transitions are optimized by several factors: thorough planning is the first step in a successful transition to the civilian sector. Also, those veterans with an active faith system, coupled with a firm belief in the overall mission tend to experience smoother transitions. The attainment of a college degree is another positive factor in experiencing a successful transition. So, to increase the likelihood of making a good-hire, consider these factors when interviewing veterans for employment.

Preparation and The Unknown Needs

For veterans, a vitally important part of planning for a career transition is developing a support network.  This network must include high-level veterans with skills in networking and mentoring. Further, training is a large part of military culture. Therefore, transitioning service members need and expect training designed to integrate them into their new roles.

Veterans and On-boarding

Veterans need job-specific, on-boarding programs. Currently, on-boarding programs typically focus on basic HR requirements and do not address the most pressing need: transition success.  Therefore, on-boarding for transitioning military personnel must include significant information on transitional skills and on organizational culture. Again, put your veteran new-hires in contact with seasoned mentors who can guide them to a successful transition.

In Review

Several factors impact a veteran’s successful transition into the civilian market. A planned transition is a key starting point. Also, consider contacting service members well before they are set to transition. Further, an active support network of prior-service military members who are high-level professionals skilled in networking and mentoring is very helpful. Finally, provide your veterans with supportive on-boarding programs. Prepare for success by providing your veterans and new employees tailored coaching to supplement your on-boarding program.


Link to Veteran’s Study
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