In the summer of 2011, President Obama challenged U.S. employers to hire at least 100,000 military veterans and/or their spouses by 2013. The challenge came at a time when the unemployment rate for men and women who had recently completed their military service was about twice that of the national unemployment rate.
One firm that decided to answer that call was Humana, which decided that responding to the military-hiring challenge was not only a good thing to do, but that it also could provide the company with a talent pool of individuals who offered a unique skillset – including attention to detail, honor and commitment. The firm set a goal to hire 1,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2014.
Eighteen months later, Humana’s Veteran Hiring Initiative has been a huge success. In fact, the company recently announced plans to hire at least 1,000 more veterans by its original deadline. Additionally, the company has also vowed to make inroads into helping another uniquely talented group to find work: military spouses—a group that is often discriminated against in the hiring market, as employers can be wary about the possibility of a potential employee's spouse receiving orders to move to a different base.
As a military child, veteran and spouse of a retired service member, Jay Brethen well understands the challenges that military spouses face when trying to get hired—a background that made her a perfect fit to help the company's Talent Acquisition team hire military spouses.
Here is a look at a typical day in Jay Brethen's life at Humana:
"I typically work from home and travels for meetings, events or ceremonies to promote Humana’s hiring initiative. I reside in California and often have to meet as early as 6 a.m. Pacific for meetings that are scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern. My focus within the military spouse hiring initiative is to review work-at-home opportunities at Humana and then determine how these opportunities may best suit military spouses."
6 a.m. Turn on laptop and see what meetings may be taking place and agenda items for the day that need attention. Review any outstanding emails and phone calls. Listen to the local and national news to see what is going on with the Department of Defense that could affect hiring needs among service members and military spouses.
8 a.m. Review candidates I am working with for the day. Review applications within Humana’s career center or connect with companies Humana has acquired, such as Concentra, to learn more about candidate status. Review new opportunities that may be available. Reach out to recruiters to learn more about the roles.
11 a.m. Create advertisement to post on the Veteran and Military Spouse Network site through which my team promotes roles to our target audience. I also post these advertisements to my personal LinkedIn page, social groups, local military installation representatives, military spouse groups and local veteran employment representatives.
12 p.m. Veteran Hiring Action Meeting - Engage with leaders and other teams throughout Humana to determine the best action to take within veteran and military spouse talent. Share information regarding latest updates with partners such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership or the License Portability Measure – partnerships that were established to reduce the amount of unemployment time between military duty transfers.
1 p.m. Grab lunch/Break time.
1:30 p.m. Work on a military/diversity retention survey, which will provide more insight on what Humana provides veterans and, more specifically, reservists. Questions include topics such as:
- Determining if we offer the appropriate amount of time off for drill weekends and annual training every year
- Providing education regarding state-provided programs that may provide credentialing/licensing with proof of military training
- Working on projections for 2013 hiring needs, seeking all work-at-home, flexible commute or portable opportunities within Humana
3 p.m. Review and follow up on any calls and emails.
4 p.m. Review following day’s calendar. Review anything that needs additional work in evening. Prepare to turn off computer and begin family time.
If you would like to learn more about Humana’s military hiring initiative, please visit http://www.humana-military.com/careers/militaryemployment.asp
Humana associates that may know those interested in working with Humana, or associates who have served/are serving, or have a spouse who has served/is serving should register on the Veteran and Military Spouse Network at http://www.jobs.net/jobs/Humana-Veterans/. Then contact Jay Brethen at JBrethen@Humana.com for more information.