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8: Employers

It can be challenging for military spouses to maintain a career compatible with military life. Frequent moves, deployments, training missions, and being a single-parent are examples of the lifestyle dynamics balanced by working military spouses. While more than half of working military spouses report that deployment has had a negative effect on their careers, the majority of military spouses worked during their service member’s last deployment.

Why hire a military spouse? Military spouses, as a whole, are better educated than average workers. Yet they are less likely to be employed and more likely to earn less than average civilian workers, as well as their equally qualified counterparts.  Military spouses work to contribute to the total family income and to provide financial stability for their family. Apart from financial gain, three in four spouses claim the desire for a career is an important reason to work and essential to their quality of life.

Action Items:

  • Flexible work schedules provide military spouses the opportunity to be employed and continue to better manage life issues without a spouse. Consider the opportunities your business, franchise, or corporation has to offer flexible work arrangements for military spouses and military teens.
  • Businesses that support the needs of their community build goodwill and also increase their revenues. Consider the importance of allowing your employees one day off per month to volunteer and encourage them to assist military families in your community.
  • Get together with other small or large employers in your community and consider new ways to help grow your business and also employ military spouses. Consider creating a bank of flexible work opportunities for military spouses.

 

  • Start a family support group in your workplace. Parents and other loved ones of service members, as well as military spouses, often speak of the isolation they feel during a deployment. By providing a meeting place and time for family members to support each other, you can remove some of the anxiety they feel.
  • Make sure your Human Resources Department and Employee Assistance Program are aware of military and veterans benefits, insurance programs, and available resources to assist your military-affiliated employees and their families.

Resources:

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has developed resources for employers to help them support and value the military service of their employees. For more information on ESGRs programs and resources go to www.esgr.org.

The Military Family Research Institute has created a series of informational brochures titled, “How to Help Military Families.” These guides provide practical tips and suggestions for helping your neighbors, friends and community members who have a military affiliation. Visit www.mfri.purdue.edu/content.asp?tid=6&id=25 to download the brochures.

Corporate Voices for Working Families, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of working families and the competitiveness of American business, developed toolkits to assist employers in implementing workplace flexibility programs. To download the toolkits, go to www.cvworkingfamilies.org.

World at Work, a not-for-profit organization focused on global human resource issues, developed resources available for download on workplace flexibility and work-life issues. Go to www.worldatwork.org to view and download the resources.

Workplace Flexibility 2010, a campaign to support the development of a comprehensive national policy on workplace flexibility, has resources for service members and their families. Go to http://workplaceflexibility2010.org/index.php/stakeholders/military_families/ to get more information on workplace flexibility options.

Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces creates a link for service members and their families to potential employers. For more information, go to www.employerpartnership.org.

Connect with other employers who are hiring military spouses through Military Spouse JobSearch, (msjs.americasjobexchange.com) or VetJobs (www.vetjobs.com).

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) have formed a new partnership to promote flexible work arrangements. For more information on the partnership and resources go to www.weknownext.com/movingworkforward/.