Meeting the Needs of the Military Community

November 23, 2016 6:51 am

Meeting the Needs of the Military Community

Carol Eggert
Vice President, Military and Veteran Affairs
Brigadier General (R), U.S. Army

 

Carol Eggert is vice president, military and veteran affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal (No. 29 on the DiversityInc 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list). In this role, she works collaboratively across Comcast NBCUniversal to provide strategic leadership to all aspects of programs and outreach engaging the military and veteran community, including talent acquisition, business development, customer care and corporate recognition programs.

Carol has served in the Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard, serving in a variety of command and staff positions, including Deputy Commander, Army War College, Assistant Adjutant General, Battalion Commander and Chief of Staff. She recently retired as a Brigadier General.

She also has worked with members from all branches of the military and completed numerous overseas deployments, including a 15-month combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Chief of the Women’s Initiatives Division and Senior Liaison to the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, where she conducted a full-scale analysis of women’s initiatives and developed a strategic plan for the economic and political empowerment of Iraqi women under the U.S. Secretary of State.

 

Q. Why is your company focused on recruiting veterans? Describe your veteran recruitment/outreach initiatives.

A. There is a strong business case for hiring military veterans as part of a corporate diversity & inclusion strategy. A 2013 report by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) Company found that, on average, veterans perform 4 percent higher than nonveteran employees and have 3 percent less turnover than nonveterans.

Comcast and NBCUniversal have long recognized that military hires bring exceptional strengths to the business and we actively recruit prospective employees with military backgrounds. Veterans and National Guard and Reserve members returning to civilian work offer employers far more than just the technical skills they developed in the service. They bring individual responsibility, discipline, leadership and the ability to motivate large groups.

Comcast has committed to hiring 10,000 from the military community by the end of 2017, and it has partnered with numerous government and private organizations that support military veteran hiring initiatives in order to meet that goal. Comcast created a new team — the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (MVA) — to help create and support those partnerships, and MVA also works closely with talent acquisition and military recruiters within Comcast to assist with hiring strategies and functions.

Along with regularly participating in local “Hiring Our Heroes”-sponsored job fairs around the country and virtual Recruit Military job fairs online, Comcast has launched a jobs and education resource portal for veterans and their families. This online hub features up-to-date tools and information to help smooth the transition from military service to civilian life.

NBCUniversal and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have also launched “Next Steps for Vets,” a web portal hosted by NBCNews.com that equips veterans with essential tools and information to help them in their transition after returning home from military service.

 

Q. Are veterans recruited for leadership positions, if so, have you had success in this area? Describe please.

A. Veterans are recruited for all open positions. Military service members are exposed to examples of leadership at all levels every day of service, which gives them a tremendous amount of informal leadership training that augments their formal leadership development.

However, veterans are also highly skilled individuals who are qualified to fill positions throughout the Comcast footprint, whether they be field technical, sales, customer service, administrative, network engineering, operations, theme parks and resorts, programming, marketing, human resources and other careers or leadership roles. The leadership experience a veteran brings to any role is one of the benefits of hiring veterans at all levels, and a quality that supports the business case for veteran hiring.

 

Q. Once veterans are hired, do you have programs in place to retain and develop them? Please describe in detail.

A. All employees undergo onboarding and training programs, regardless of veteran status, to provide them with continued skills and leadership development, as well as with a smooth transition into Comcast’s workplace culture.

But the military community sometimes has unique needs. For instance, our Reserve and National Guard hires often have drill or deployments that call them away from work. To support these employees, Comcast has created important military support benefits, including providing up to 15 days of paid time off annually to support reservist/guard training obligations, 3 years of military leave supplemental pay for employees on active duty and providing the option of staying on company health and welfare plans during deployment. We provide financial and job transfer assistance to employees whose spouse or domestic partner is being called, reassigned or transferred to an active military duty in a different geography. These are exceptional, best-in-class benefits to help retain our Reserve/NG employees.

 

Q. What challenge(s) has the company faced in recruiting or retaining veterans and how has it overcome those challenges?

A. Comcast faces the same challenges all companies experience in veteran hiring — namely, being able to have clear communication between the applicant and the hiring manager about the veteran’s military derived skills, abilities and qualifications and how they match an open position’s requirements. There is a need for a veteran to be able to translate their skills and experience into civilian language, and a need for a recruiter/interviewer to be attuned to how differently an interview should be conducted with veterans so that the best information is drawn out from them by asking different questions.

Comcast has dedicated training resources for its recruiting and TA teams to help eliminate that barrier in communication. We have partnered with PsychArmor, which provides educational videos about military culture and language, informing TA, recruiters and hiring managers about the nuances of communicating with veterans — helping to bridge the communication gap. In addition, as members of the military are recruited nationwide at hiring fairs and network events, they also are coached and sponsored throughout the entire hiring process, to help them navigate the hiring process successfully.

 

Q. Do you have a veterans resource group? If yes, can you describe how it has helped the company address or meet business objectives?

A. Comcast and NBCUniversal have a military employee resource group called VetNet, which is over 5,000 members strong. VetNet provides mentorship, peer-to-peer support and service opportunities to its members and new military hires. It serves as a base of support focused on the professional growth and development of service members and their allies. VetNet is also instrumental in supporting military-focused events and partnerships, and their cooperation with MVA has been a decisive effort toward Comcast achieving its 10,000 veteran hiring goal.

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