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Linking Skills to Honor Our Military, Veterans, and Their Families

This week, in the United States, we celebrate Veterans Day, honoring those who volunteered to give up a civilian lifestyle to serve our nation and to keep us safe. At SIOP, we will honor these men and women by launching our inaugural #SIOPServingMilitary campaign on social media. We seek to achieve many goals:

  1. Increase awareness of the needs of the military community seeking civilian employment and education in an inclusive manner. All members of a military family – service member, spouse, dependents – serve, face unique career challenges, and possess advantageous competencies and experience;
  2. Explain to a broader audience the challenges that active military, veterans, and their spouses and families experience when reintegrating into the civilian sector, to include establishing a new work-life balance and seeking education and civilian sector work;
  3. Demonstrate how industrial-organizational psychologists are uniquely suited to support and inform employers/supervisors and HR professionals hiring and employing veterans and military family members;
  4. Bust the many myths about veterans (e.g., about their postcombat state of mind), military spouses, and their families; and to demonstrate the ROI of hiring veterans;
  5. Highlight the work of SIOP members working with military communities, and encourage our members and their colleagues to contribute and engage in research and applied practice helping our nation’s heroes;
  6. Proudly announce the renaming and relaunch of the SIOP Military and Veterans Initiative as a SIOP task force under the direction of Army veteran Kristin Saboe. The task force is focused on providing research, resources, and organizational advisement to increase our understanding and ability to create meaningful work and educational opportunities for military, veterans, and their spouses. The task force is also working to ensure well-being, work-life balance, and a smooth reintegration process for our service members, their spouses, and families. You can read more about this new task force here.

Throughout the week of #SIOPServingMilitary, we will be highlighting the work accomplished by I-O psychologists focused on enabling veterans, the broader military community, and their families to find meaningful civilian-sector work and education that leverages the skills acquired while serving as a military community member.

We also want to break down the myths and often incorrect stereotypes that exist in the civilian sector about employing veterans and military spouses. For example, a research study found that a group of 292 veterans scored higher than the American norm on mental and people agility. Mental agility is the ability to be intellectually agile: able to make sense of a lot of complex and sometimes contradictory data to solve problems effectively. People agility refers to being “people smart”: relating candidly and comfortably with diverse groups of people, adapting one’s demeanor and actions in real time to match the shifting demands of different situations, and delivering multiple types of communications that express a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.

At SIOP, we value our partnerships with organizations of all sizes and seek to leverage our focus on science for a smarter workplace. Research shows that hiring veterans and military spouses enhances diversity, productivity, retention, and overall ROI. We also seek to share these findings with leaders, supervisors, and HR professionals who hire, train, and develop talent within their organizations.

Some of the important work we’ll be sharing this week includes the work I-O psychologists are engaged in across the federal government, particularly at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. SIOP member and Department of Defense (DoD) Research Psychologist Nathan D. Ainspan describes the DoD and VA’s many different departments, teams, and initiatives geared towards serving our nation’s veterans, military personnel, and their families.

Meanwhile, many of SIOP’s members are conducting research focused on military populations. For example, Jenna-Lyn Roman and her master’s thesis committee at Baruch College examined the impact of the military lifestyle on the career pursuits of spouses as well as the advantages of hiring military spouses to meet the talent needs of organizations.  Emily G. Macias; her advisor, Logan M. Steele; and her senior thesis committee at the University of South Florida are conducting research on female officers in the U.S. Marine Corps and how they internalize what their subordinates think about them.

We encourage you to read the linked articles in our social media posts, share the ones you find interesting or noteworthy, and add your own with the hashtags #SIOPServingMilitary and #IOPsych. And to all those in the military community, whether you are a SIOP member or not, we extend our sincerest gratitude for your sacrifice and service! We hope you find value in #SIOPServingMilitary.

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