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Improving Job Performance Using the Military Training Model

Experiences and training in the military may differ from experiences and training in the civilian workplace. For more information, please see our toolkit section on Understanding the Military Experience . As an employer or manager or supervisor of a Veteran employee, use of management styles similar to the military training model may help improve or maintain a Veteran employee's job performance. You may even find that this style is helpful to other employees who value a straight forward approach.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Be straightforward and direct in communication. Veterans are used to straightforward communication in the military. If your industry or business niche has different terms or varied ways of communicating, it can be helpful to new employees (not just Veteran employees) to teach them new language or terms, as well as to discuss how best to interact with coworkers, managers or supervisors, and clients.
  • State the "mission" objectives clearly. You may already identify goals or milestones to be achieved in order to meet deadlines for projects. This is similar to stating the mission and identifying mission objectives. It may be helpful to document the mission and objectives and place this where employees can access it for future reference.
  • Clarify details, issues, or concerns. In the military, orders, procedures, and other instructions are very clear and detailed; little is vague or unclear. Clarifying may help your Veteran employee perform well.
  • Identify responsibility for mission objectives. In the military, each Service Member has different responsibilities and works together with other members of his or her unit to complete a mission. Working together this way as a team may best ensure success when each member knows which components are his or her responsibility and which components are the responsibilities of others.
  • Set standards for evaluation and be clear about standards for promotion. In the military, when an individual first joins a unit, his or her supervisor is required to provide them with written documentation to clarify work expectations, responsibilities, and any other initial expectations. Identifying standards for evaluation will help an employee understand what is expected of him or her and allow them to work towards those goals.
  • Complete evaluations. After setting standards for evaluation, complete evaluations at regular intervals (e.g., every 6 months, annually, after project completion). In the military, Service Members are required to evaluate their performance and progress on objectives with their supervisor to make sure they are on track to meet the mission.
  • When giving new tasks or teaching new skills, model what needs to be done, have the employee practice, and then provide feedback. In the military, Service Members often learn new tasks or skills by observing another do the skills, then practicing the skill themselves and receiving feedback. By using this method, a manager or supervisor is afforded the opportunity to provide feedback immediately, which helps an employee do a task correctly, thereby avoiding the need for correction later.