(Part 1) Companies of all sizes are eager to hire veteran talent, but many aren't sure where to start. Join us as we discuss best practices with Mallory Lepkowski of Associated Bank, a company that does it the right way!
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Today on Wisconsin veterans forward veteran employment is a hot topic. Everybody talks about veteran employment issues. And so many companies are, are talking about how they are or want to be veteran friendly. We wanna hire more veterans. Uh, but a lot of them, they say that they don't necessarily know what that means or where to start. Uh, I , we work with people all the time in this area. Um, and a common theme is they say, we wanna hire more veterans. How do we hire more veterans? And our first question is why do you wanna hire more veterans? And then they're lie tells us a lot about where they're at. Are they, are they looking to acquire and support and retain veteran talent because that is a quality source of talent or are they looking for, you know, what they think could be , uh , uh , a high performing labor way age employee, which we all know is not really a good fit for veterans who are transitioning out. Cause they have experience they're coming from a salaried position and you know, I , I could go on and on and on. There are a lot of companies out there that do a it wrong, unfortunately, and there are some companies out there , uh, that, that do it right, that do it right. And not only do it right as in , uh, in , in regards to hiring, but also supporting and retain veteran talent and military spouse talent. Nobody's looking for special treatment here, but traditionally underrepresented groups of people, underrepresented demographics of which veterans are included , um, have some barriers to entry , uh , between them long term substantive employment. That just need a little bit of special consideration. And if you wanna, if you really wanna leverage the incredible power of having a diverse team that is supported the right way , uh, you can't treat them all the same. And when you have are represented groups of people, which you need, if you want to have a truly diverse workforce , um, there are some special considerations, right? Nobody's asking for special treatment. Every time I talk about this on TikTok, everyone's like, you just want handouts. No , <laugh> now they're just some special considerations for all of your employees. Anyways. One of the companies that does this right is associated bank and we're good friends with them and good friends of theirs for a long time. We love 'em over there. And our friend Mallory is here to talk to us from associated bank to talk to us about , uh, what they do to engage, attract, hire, support, retain, and El veteran and military spouse town . So we're gonna get into that right after this, you are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of firstname.lastname@example.org . Excellent. And here we are Mallory you're here.Speaker 2:
Yes. Yeah. Thank you for having me.Speaker 1:
You betcha. How are things going? Sorry about the delay. OhSpeaker 2:
No. That's all right . Uh , things are going good. I mean, I think like everybody, the recruit space is busy, busy right now, but , uh, that's a good thing, right? <laugh>Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Well, let's start there. I mean, so, so, so what is your role with associated bank? It , it sounds like you are in, in the recruiting and hiring you're in the talent management area. Yeah . What is the, what is the ecosystem? What is the climate local in your discipline? In your field?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yep , absolutely. So I am one of our senior talent acquisition consultants here at associated bank. Um, so I do work as part of our recruiting or talent acquisition team. And , um, I would say the climate is probably along the lines of what you've been hearing in the news. Um, of course this is a big topic for everybody right now. Um, I mean, quite frankly, the labor market that we're in right now is unprecedented. Um, I've never seen anything like it. I know people who have been in the recruiting space significantly longer than I have that have also said the same thing that in the 20, 30 years they've been recruiting, they've never seen a market like this. Um, on either side coming outta the pandemic, a lot of companies are going through a lot of growth. They're hiring at an extremely accelerated rate to what we may have seen even five years ago. Um, but then there's also this , uh, interesting dynamic in the labor pool where there are significantly more than there are candidates that are looking. Um, the unemployment rate is even lower than it was pre pandemic, which none of us thought could happen, but it did. Um , and so there's just this interesting dynamic of companies trying to grow and find the talent to grow with , um, in a market where there's not talent to be had that employed or , um, not , uh, employed somewhere today.Speaker 1:
It sounds like there's, it almost sounds like it's a buyer's market and a seller's market at the exact same time.Speaker 2:
A hundred percent . Yep . A hundred percent. I would agree.Speaker 1:
<laugh> so we have, we have a lot of talent out there who is looking for other opportunities yet being very, very picky. Absolutely . I think there's, there has been a wave of a , a shift, which I think has been really important putting the power back in the employees and, and getting them to , uh , a lot of employees are, are saying, look, this is what I wanna do. This is what I don't wanna do. This is what I want. This is what I don't want. And if you can't provide that to me, there's a million other employers out there. Yep . But, but at the same time, there are employers who have opportunities that legit need to be filled <affirmative> , um, but have better opportunities than the people next to them. So it's like mm-hmm <affirmative> buyers and op and , and sellers at the , at the same time, what it's like, they're standing on two edges of a Gorge. Mm-hmm <affirmative> with a big gap in between. Uh , what , how , how do you build a bridge between the two of them? Where's the disconnect.Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, I mean, I think it's forced a lot of change in not only the way that companies look for talent, but also in the way that candidates search for jobs. Um, like you said, I mean, there are some things, and I think particularly from a work life balance perspective that have come out of the pandemic that companies need to adjust to that candidates are looking for. Um, cuz like you said, it's, it's definitely a very interesting dynamic in that. Um, candidates have a lot of opportunities to choose from. There's a lot that's out there so they can definitely afford to be picky. Um, but at the same point , um, employers can also in a sense kind of to be picky as well because there's a lot of people that are taking advantage of the job market that we have today that are open to having that conversation that two or three years ago, if a recruiter had reached out to them, they would've said no, no thank you. And no , I'm not looking. Um, more people are being open to having that conversation. So both sides and afford to be picky. Um, and so I think like you said, where that bridge comes from is, and what I really encourage candidates to do is I talk to people who might be looking at competing offers or multiple , um, companies is at the end of the day. It's not always so much about the job. Um, but the values , um, what is important to you? Is it work life balance? Is it compensation? Um, is it growth opportunity? What's important to you and find a company that aligns with that and that's where that bridge is gonna come from for each of those candidates and companies. Um, because while everybody would love to take on a promotional opportunity or get paid more , um, those are kind of givens. Um, sometimes it's worth taking a lateral mover in some cases, even a step back. Um, if you're gonna find a company that aligns with what you're looking for in terms of values or possibly even growth that you may have to take a step back to take a step forward.Speaker 1:
And what are you seeing now? I mean, obviously you've been doing this for quite some time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> as , as a , as a senior talent manager, you've you have experienced, you've done it. You've seen it. Yeah . What's different now than, than before there was the buyer plus seller market thing going on. Are you , are you , is it just this wide variety of things that matter to people? Are you seeing some trends, you know, like, okay, employers need to offer work from home or, you know, for example, or employers need, or employees just want more compensation or they want more autonomy or they want, you know , uh , more clearly defined advancement opportunities. Like what , what are those things that you're noticing that are different now?Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think some of those common things never go away. Um, they're always gonna be there, but I think for a lot of people, the focus has really been on values. Um, I think the pandemic in part brought out a lot about companies and the way that they operate and there's no one right way to do it or one wrong way to do it. Um, every company operates differently and I'll even say that between roles they operate very differently, like from a work , uh , work from home perspective, we have some positions that they physically will never ver be able to work from home. Um, like if they're in a business to business sales position, they're always gonna have to be out getting in front of clients. That's never gonna change. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, so work from home may not be as important to that group as it may be to some others. Um, but holistically, I think people are looking at the way their company reacted to the pandemic and the way that their company is coming out of the pandemic. Um, the pandemic, I mean not only for people personally, but within the economic space, really disrupted everything. Um, and the way that companies are responding is gonna become increasingly important. Um, so again, I think it'll vary a little bit, depending on the role , um, as to what people are gonna be looking for. I think at the end of the day, it does come down to that company's values that company's path for success. Um, we're seeing a lot of people and I would say across the board that the reason they're open to having that conversation , uh , is because of one of those two things in some capacity , um, whether it's, they're forcing them to come back to the office and they don't want to, they wanna work remote , um , or maybe they're if in like a sales position, maybe their company completely changed and restructured their commission structure , um, in order to save money that made it less advantageous to the employee where now they're looking for somewhere that maybe has an untapped commission , uh , plan , um, those types of things and the way the company is deciding to operate , um, people are leveraging that this candidate market to their advantage to able to find something that more closely aligns with what they're looking for.Speaker 1:
So, so I wanna back up just a little bit when yeah . When you were saying that we were talking about the buyer seller market and yeah . How , uh , employment seekers are being more picky, but employers job offerers are able to be more picky too. Are you seeing as a result of that , um, and kind of a higher rate of great opportu, are you seeing more great jobs go to great people at great companies? Are you seeing more of those high level quality employment connections as a result of this? Or do they kind of cancel each other out? And it's just more of the same just with a different , uh, same Christmas tree, different star on top of it sort of thing.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I mean, I think it depends on the situation, but I mean, I definitely think this environment creates the opportunity for that. Um, because, and it's not necessarily anyone's fault. Um, but there are times where at a company you may have a high performer that you don't have that next step for them, whether it's at the company's too small and that step doesn't exist. Um, or maybe there's somebody already in that spot today. That's not planning on leaving anytime soon , um, that this environment definitely kind of creates that opportunity for employers who are looking to fill tho that next level role mm-hmm <affirmative> to be able to connect with those people. That again, they're probably not actively looking. Um, they're probably not out there submitting applications and actively looking to the , to leave their role. They're not unsatisfied, they're not disengaged. Um, but if somebody were to reach out with that next step that they're looking for, that they could have that opportunity now, instead of waiting five years for it , um, they would be silly not to at least listen to it and not to at least , um, hear what that company has to offer. So I think we are seeing a lot of that where maybe other companies are able to provide that next step for somebody quicker , um, that we're seeing those high performing high potential individuals that again were not disengaged or were not looking to leave that are deciding to make that change, go to another employer, take that next step into a performing role where then you are seeing that match of those great people and those great companies and those great roles , um, kind of coming together because of the market environment and the opportunity it createdSpeaker 1:
Good stuff. We're gonna continue this in the very next episode. Part two of our chat with Mallory from associated bank on the very next episode of Wisconsin veterans forward. We'll see you there. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit email@example.com . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever play platform you're listening through .