‘Reliable and accountable,’ Veterans are Ready to Lead at CVS Health

November 21, 2016 7:03 am

'Reliable and accountable,' Veterans are Ready to Lead at CVS Health

David Casey
Vice President, Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer


David Casey serves as vice president, workforce strategies and chief diversity officer for CVS Health (one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies). Casey joined the company in 2010 and is responsible for developing and driving diversity and engagement strategies across the company. He is also focused on ensuring that diversity and inclusion are embedded in CVS Health’s recruitment, talent development, performance management and succession planning efforts.

Casey is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm.


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

A. Companies around the world now compete globally for scarce technical and professional skills. The challenge is particularly acute in health care, where it is projected that by 2020, 5.6 million new jobs will be created, which may lead to a sizable shortage in pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — the very highly skilled workers we need to compete and run our business.

As a growing business, CVS Health knows our veterans’ skills and experience are unparalleled, and are a powerful resource for building a robust pipeline of skilled talent and expertise to sustain our success.

With millions of service members transitioning out of the military over the next few years, we’re committed to hiring veterans, current National Guard and Reserve members and military spouses across all parts of our business. We have approximately 150 stores that are within 20 miles of a military base so it is important to us that our colleagues represent the communities that we serve. We’re also committed to supporting and hiring military spouses, which helps veterans better understand what opportunities are available to them when they leave the service.

In May 2016, we hired Dave Lee, a retired Army Colonel, as the director of Military Programs for CVS Health. The purpose of his work is to explore and identify innovative ways that we can help the military community, specifically veterans, on their path to better health as patients, customers and colleagues. Part of this work also includes how we can help veterans transition from service and find employment with our company.


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

A. Yes, we have colleagues that are veterans in positions all across the company, from front of store through the vice president level. When hiring, we look for veterans with skills that are directly transferrable to job functions here at CVS Health such as distribution and logistics, as well as veterans with leadership skills that can be transferred into management positions within the company such as store managers. We also help train veterans without a college degree for positions such as pharmacy technician. The most important thing is that they are willing to learn — their discipline and timeliness make them reliable and accountable colleagues to work in positions throughout the company.


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

A. CVS Health has a colleague resource group (VALOR) dedicated to helping veterans with nearly 500 active members across the country. Both veterans and non-veterans are invited to join. All of our colleagues, including veterans, are offered a number of enterprise-wide programs once on-boarded, including mentoring, performance management and assistance with individual development plans to help advance their careers at CVS Health.

We just recently launched a military career page to specifically help with veteran hiring initiatives and provide content for the military community, as well as help veterans see what career paths may make the most sense for them at CVS Health. We’ve also developed internal training programs to assist our talent acquisition teams and managers in understanding how to recruit and hire veterans into meaningful positions within our company, as well as manage military talent once hired.


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

A. Our biggest challenge is getting veterans to self-identify. Many have the misconception that revealing their military status would cause them to be excluded from consideration for a job, when in fact, it’s just the opposite. We know veterans are well trained and bring important skill-sets to the organization that we need to build and sustain a strong and talented workforce. This is why, as part of our Military outreach program, we focus on helping veterans best understand how to communicate their skills and share with our recruiters and hiring managers how their experience is applicable to our business at CVS Health. We also know how important it is that our hiring managers understand how military members’ skills can be transferrable to work at CVS Health and help train them to recognize these qualities.


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. Yes, our colleague resource group VALOR is made up of nearly 500 CVS Health colleagues from across the country. The engaged group of colleagues is committed to supporting the needs of military customers and communities, providing equitable access to career growth and development opportunities and creating a work environment that welcomes and supports veterans and active members. VALOR supports programs that honor veterans and their families while helping to position CVS Health as a recognized employer of veterans and active military members.