Memorial Day, the critics charge, has become nothing more than the start of summer vacations and summer sales. Yet, May is the month we recognize and remember several aspects of our military:
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 10) is a recent recognition of their support.
- Armed Forces Day (May 18) recognizes those currently in service.
- Memorial Day (May 27) recognizes those who died in war.
Memorial Day began as women, individually and in clubs, decorated the graves of Civil War soldiers with flowers. It became formalized, first in the North and then the South, as Decoration Day. Later, soldiers from World War I were added. Eventually it became a federal holiday in recognition of all our military members killed in war.
Lessons for Business
Planning for hiring, training, and using people effectively to achieve the mission began in the military. You may not need a formal HR strategic plan. But you do need to decide what work needs to be done to achieve your organization’s goals. And then hire employees or contract for such needs.
Another useful lesson from the military is that individuals fight and die to protect their team, not some abstract idea or grand plan. In business terms, this insight can help you recognize that strong teamwork is critical to your success. If you cannot create and sustain your team, a great idea will not translate into a successful business.
The military also demonstrates the value of training and development. Each service provides technical training to its members – training that may be beneficial to your business. People are trained to become supervisors and managers before being put into such jobs. Yes, there are cost-effective ways your small business can provide training and development activities to enhance its success!
We talk often of military members as ‘heroes’ but some veterans have difficulty finding jobs as employers do not understand their skills. Veterans have a solid record of success in civilian jobs and as entrepreneurs. They are your potential employees and customers. Need help hiring them? http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/forEmployers/HiringToolkit/
Saying thanks is a nice gesture. But we also need to support and assist our veterans during and after their active service.
Enjoy these lessons our military provides to help your business succeed. Hire veterans to help grow and improve your team.
The military holidays of May offer you an opportunity to learn more about our history and our current military. Reach out to those military or veterans you know and learn their stories. Walk an area battlefield or visit a military monument and teach your family US history in the process. I will be at the Womens Memorial at Arlington National Cemetary for their Memorial Day service – join us!
Patricia A. Frame is an experienced management consultant, HR executive, speaker, and author on human capital issues. She is known for her ability to address organizational goals and issues effectively and to create human resource management practices which support these goals without excessive administrivia. Patricia has advised executives and boards on a wide range of human capital and strategic planning issues. She has expertise in organization development, talent management, process restructuring, compensation, and training. She has worked with technology-based companies, government contractors, non-profits, associations, and retail operations. She advises small to mid-size organizations on ways to succeed and to help their employees thrive. Ms. Frame has given seminars for SBDC in recent years on the basic processes of HR management. Additionally, she generously provides one-to-one HR counseling once a month through Alexandria SBDC.