Reintegrating Employees Returning From Active Military Duty
Almost 40% of the US military is made up of National Guardsmen and Reservists. These 850,000+ service members are also your employees. While their calls to duty are in the national interest, it can be disruptive to productivity, challenging to organizational cohesion, and stressful for everyone involved. But, we HR professionals can mitigate — even gain — from these experiences using techniques already available to us.
Following are some suggestions to consider when one of your employees will be deployed:
- Recognize that stressors appear on the individual, family, and employer almost as soon as active duty orders are received.
- Apply human resource (or workforce) planning techniques to discuss openly how the deployment will impact the employee, his/her team, and the employer.
- Take steps, such as building Job Books or cross-training, to prepare the workforce for the absence.
- Keep the employee connected to the company while away; send notes and "care packages" — and get others to participate.
Finally, keep in mind that almost every sojourner (expatriate executive, international student, or your activated employee) will have to readjust when they come back. A 2000 HR Magazine article reminds us that, "People don't expect to have to adjust to home, but that is precisely what makes it so difficult. After being gone, the [employee] is facing a world of changes - personally, culturally, and professionally."
For more information on reintegrating employees returning from active military duty, contact your Helios consultant at (703) 860-3882 x102. Additionally, the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) maintains field committees of volunteers in every state. Go to www.esgr.org for more information and to locate volunteers in your area.