I retired from active service with the US Army National Guard in 2015. It was a very confusing time. I found myself unable to express who I was without my uniform or military structure. I felt alone because I didn’t know the rules of civilian life. I was scared because I didn’t want to fail or let my family down.

I landed a job with a well-known company in the Upstate. After moving my family 100 miles and two months into my onboarding, I was terminated. I wasn’t adjusting well to my civilian employer, and frankly, they were not adjusting well to me. Thankfully my husband landed a job shortly after my termination, my VA disability started, and we had some savings.

A few months after my termination, I started my first business, Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care. Butter Angels and networking were essential, as getting another job after being terminated seemed impossible. Employers were not interested in hiring a freshly terminated veterans. I was devastated. Never was I fired or reassigned for poor performance or behavior. I’ve always earned high marks on my evaluations. I felt like the world that sworn to support me when I retired, threw me away when I didn’t fit in.

The employer that terminated me felt a loss as well. They lost 1/3 of my annual salary (Agovino, 2019) in recruiting cost, my new hire training, and lost productivity. The loss didn’t stop there. They had to start the recruiting process again. Another investment in new hire onboarding and training was made, resulting in a 1%-2.5% loss in total business revenue (Bauman, 2018) due to more lost productivity and naturally a dip in team morale.

Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. 

Laurano, M

According to the Brandon Hall Group, “organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70% (Laurano, 2015). Stakeholders receive significant gains when employers design an onboarding process that is tailored to veterans and their needs. Emotional intelligence surrounding the veterans’ frame of mind and what matters to a veteran is critical in developing onboarding programs that earn trust and facilitate learning and acceptance. As mission-oriented individuals, we are less worried about the enjoyment of the job, and more concerned about fitting in with our peers, sharing a bond with our leadership, and having an exceptional understanding of the overall mission and where we fit in.

Also, veterans are more engaged when we feel there are opportunities for professional development, opportunities for advancement, and we are in synch with our peers and supervisors. A well-developed onboarding process seeds the concepts of professional development, future advancement possibilities, and alignment with the team and results in better engagement.

The bottom line, both the veteran and employer financially and emotionally gain.


Agovino, T. (2019). The Cost of Turnover. SHRM, 2.

Bauman, A. (2018, 2018 April). The Onboarding New Hire Statistics You Need to Know. Retrieved from Urbanbound: https://www.urbanbound.com/blog/onboarding-infographic-statistics

Laurano, M. (2015, August). Research Brief: The True Cost of a Bad Hire. Retrieved from Brandon Hall Group: https://b2b-assets.glassdoor.com/the-true-cost-of-a-bad-hire.pdf

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