(Part 3) 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 the third and final part of our dialogue with Mallory Ledowski from associated bank. She is a senior hiring rep over there. She does a lot to , uh, to engage, employ, retain support, veteran talent, and military spouse talent. She knows she really is your stuff. You've probably already heard part one and part two. So you know that, so we might as well dive right in. Let's do it. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of firstname.lastname@example.org . What did we leave out? What is some essential knowledge for either party when it comes to bridging that gap, building the bridge over the Gorge between those two ends between veterans talents and employers?Speaker 2:
Yeah. I don't know if it's necessarily anything that we left out, but I mean, I guess I would definitely just reinforce that point of looking internally before you look externally. Um, cuz I think as I've talked to Oregon or if I would've even looked at associated bank 10 years ago , um, and said, what are we doing wrong? Um, it would be trying to push that hiring externally , um, or even for a veteran as well, trying to force into an opportunity that you haven't maybe taken a step back and prepare yourself for mm-hmm <affirmative> um, that on both sides, like you said, you have to really look internally and see what are you doing? That's maybe turning people away , um, on the job seeker side. Right? Is it that you haven't done any work to your resume and try to put it in civilian terms to tell them what your skills competencies are? Um, is it , um, even sometimes as well, all job seekers do it every once in a while veteran or not. Um, are you pursuing jobs that you don't have any skills or experience or training for that it bites out really cool. And it might sound really exciting, but you can't jump right into that role. And so is it educating that, how do you get there? Are there other roles that you can do to get to that dream job , um, that do leverage the skills and experience that you have today? Um, on the employer's side, right? Um, are we trying to hire veterans, but we have no support system. We don't actually value veterans in their experience , um, or have anything in place to help them . Um, and I guess from that employer perspective as well, I would say also that it doesn't always have to be financial. Um, I mean, is it great to be able to offer benefits like continuation of pay or benefits? Yes, but that does come outta cost for the organization. And sometimes especially for smaller companies that may not be possible. There may not be the resources or the budget to do that. And that's okay. Um, but even some of those other things like , um, some of those free partnerships like hiring our heroes, having an employee, employee resource group, some of those things that cost you, absolutely no money are still gonna make an impact and ultimately help you to not only make that case to hire more veterans and get to the goal of what you want. Um , but also then help that translate into retention. Um , cuz that's the biggest thing about the hiring spaces. And I even say as a recruit , my job is to fill jobs, not retain people <laugh> um , quite frankly , um , but if I'm not hiring people that are gonna stay, that makes more work for me, I need to find people that are quality hires that are gonna stay. Um, and any company wants to do that. And that's what any job seeker wants as well, no job seeker . There are very few, if any, that enjoy switching jobs that want to hop from job to job and not find a place to land , um, everybody has the same goal. Um, and so you just kind of have to look at yourself and what you're bringing to the table , um, to make it attractive, whether you're a job seeker or a , an employer.Speaker 1:
So, so what is associated, thank you then , you know, you mentioned all these things like let's, let's talk about associated. Yeah . ERG continuation, continuation of pay is super rare. So I'm , I'm , I'm not saying like, is that so like that it's expected, but is it something you do mm-hmm <affirmative> what do you specifically do , um, to attract, to engage mm-hmm <affirmative> uh , and to, to get people interested and hired vet veteran talent, interested and hired to show them that you're serious about supporting them in the right ways.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yep , absolutely. Um, so I'll talk a little bit about some of the specifics, but the first thing that I'll start with is as you build all of this out, it's all about communication and branding. Um, so you'll notice I have my nice little , uh, sweatshirt on here today. Um, that we've created branding. We have a page on our associated bank website. That's dedicated to our military communities and what we do both internally and externally , um, to support the military communities. So once you have it all in place, you have to talk about it. You have to tell people that it's there. I mean , it's great that you have it, but if people don't know it's not gonna help you at all. Um, so some of the things that we have built out and that you'll see out and some of that branding and in some of those pages , um, is so internally, right? Some of the things that we offer to attract , um, and or retain , um, is right. We do offer some financial and , um, benefits that are attractive specifically for our military community. Um, so for individuals that are currently still , um, serving in the garter reserves , um, they do of course get regular, they continue their regular pay , um, during any annual training mm-hmm <affirmative> um, they have six months of regular pay per deployment that will continue to pay them their normal paychecks for six months.Speaker 1:
That's that is amazing. Yeah.Speaker 2:
It's, it's great. We've had a , a lot of colleagues who have used it actually over the last two years , um , with a lot of national guard units and reserve units getting deployed as a result of COVID mm-hmm <affirmative> um, they also get, can retain , um, their health benefits for up to 24 months. Excellent. Um, and then on the military spouse or military family side , um, we do offer up to $2,500 of reimbursement for them to travel to where an immediate family member may be getting deployed from. Um, if they do get that notification that a son , um, or a daughter or even a parent , um, is getting deployed , um, and they don't live where they're stationed , um, they can get reimbursed for are some of that travel cost to go out there and see them before they go. Um, as well as then , right. We do offer an employee resource group. Um, so it is large it's throughout our entire footprint. Um, we do a lot in terms of not only internal support, we have a mentorship program , um, for new hires that come into the organization to just help get them acclimated not only to associated bank , um, but to banking if they're new to banking , um, and have somebody that is part of that military community to connect with. Um, but we also do a lot of education as well. We talk about issues or things that the military community might be facing. Um, like for example , um, when we pulled out of Afghanistan , um, last year, we know that was a huge triggering moment for a lot of our service members. So providing opportunities to talk about that or share resources that we might have in the organization, such as our EAP, reminding people that it's there. Um, if they are having a hard time , um, a decision that was made , um, a lot of those things to help provide some of that infrastructure. Um, as we talked out before we do a lot of training , um, within our talent acquisition team and for our hiring managers , um, we have a webinar course that we've created that specifically talks about , um, hiring veterans, some of the differences you might see, even in the way that they talk about their experience and being more team oriented than personal accomplishment oriented and helping them to differentiate between some of those things , um, in conversations that they might be having in order to promote , um, hiring managers, making decisions that are in aligned with our values. Um, um , but then, I mean, lastly, I would say again, those partnerships , um , we can't do it alone. We're not the experts. Um , we try to know as much as we can and learn as much as we can. Um , but I mean, having being a part of the chamber , um, being part of hiring our heroes, using , um , partnerships like mission Wisconsin, mm-hmm , <affirmative> , um , working with the department of workforce development , um, all of those , uh , connection points , um, help us to not only continue to evolve what we're offering internally , um, but also provide us opportunities to connect with , um, make hires and promote what we're doing , um, to attract talent. Um, and the last thing that I'll mention is kind of indirectly. It's not always about exactly what you're offering from an employment perspective, but just showing that you care. So we do do a lot in the community. We're involved with a lot of our American Legion post or , um , other local organizations. Um, we offer VA loans as a bank from a product and service perspective , um, to help support , uh, uh , veterans buying homes and being established in our communities. Um, so there's a lot of things that we just try to do from that perspective as well, that isn't necessarily directly to actively recruiting talent. Um, but again just shows our commitment to that community and hopefully , um, encourages them that even if they don't know anything about any of those benefits or anything that we offer as an organization , um, if they see associated bank with our green shirts , um, at a ruck March or something like that , um, that maybe it'll kind prompt that associated bank is a great place to bank or maybe somewhere that I'd like to work.Speaker 1:
Mm-hmm <affirmative> man, that, that was all just a lot of <laugh> . No , that was great. It was golden information right there. <laugh> uh , I , I gotta go to the beginning though. You mentioned the branding and the , the quarter zips. Yeah . Uh , are , are those available for veterans chamber members? Cuz those things are slick.Speaker 2:
I could probably get you one they're on our company store right now. So it's not available necessarily for ordering externally, but I could definitely order oneSpeaker 1:
For you . You hook up your, your friendly neighborhood veterans chamber staff member.Speaker 2:
Absolutely. Yeah. You guys just send me what you want and I'll order for you . <laugh>Speaker 1:
How can somebody get in touch or learn more about associated bank and, and what they're doing? You said there was a specific veteran landing page mm-hmm <affirmative>Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yep . Um, so if you go to associated bank.com/veterans , um, you will get directed to , um, the landing page that holistically talks about everything that we do at associated bank, both internally for our colleagues, as well as in our communities. Um, as well as, I mean, if somebody is looking for something, particularly from a either job seeker or employer connection standpoint , um, they can always reach out to email@example.com. Um, and we're always more than happy to connect or point you in the right direction of the right person to talk toSpeaker 1:
You. Betcha. And I got it scrolling across the bottom. There is that right? Okay . Excellent. Well Mallory , thank you so, so much for your time. That was all very, very cool, very informative stuff. Uh , ask you to just hang on the line for just a minute. I'll I'll touch base with you here at the end. Uh, folks that was awesome. Really, really cool stuff. That is a company that does it, right. Uh, and you could tell by all the programs and processes that they have in place. Uh, now one thing that she mentioned that I wanna bring attention to is smaller companies or less established companies that may not have the bra or the resources or the tenure , uh, that an associated bank would have probably may not have the ability to do something like six months of con pay continuation if you get deployed, which is just incredible. That that is if you have the ability to do that, it's an incredibly attractive thing. Cuz talk about, you know, somebody getting activated, they're getting their activated pay, but that may be less than they were making when they were working in the civilian world. So knowing that your family's taking care of while you are not there to provide that in person support it's, it's monumental. If you're able to do that huge. So like it's awesome that they do that, but you may not be able to do that with your business. So what are those, those other things that you're able to do after looking internally and seeing what are the reasons behind, why do you wanna acquire veteran talent, actually talk to veterans and see if you are in the right ballpark , but things like having a resource group , uh , training, training, and education for your managers on , uh , you know, things to know things, to say things, to not say ways to support ways to not support, you know , uh , education. That's not gonna cost you a lot. It'll cost you your time and your effort, but veterans can tell if you are not putting in the time and making an effort to support them appropriately. So if you actually want to do this thing, right, you're gonna have to put in a little bit of elbow grease and you don't have to break the bank necessarily to do it. You just have to make sure that you spend the time to look inward and to educate yourself, to educate your, your next level managers be genuine about that support all the things that she said that associated does right now. That should be like as a gold standard. You , you , your job, if you want to actually acquire diverse workforce, that includes veteran talent. Like that should be what you strive to do. Go listen to what she said again. That was, that was all gold. I appreciate everybody tuning in here. Check 'em out associated bank.com/veterans. Hey, if you're looking for a gig, I tell you what vets and military spouses out there, it's a company doing it the right way. I've heard nothing but good. Thanks . Appreciate y'all and we will see you next. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.