Meeting in a Box: Memorial Day

Meeting in a Box: Memorial Day

Meeting in a Box: Memorial Day

This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

For Memorial Day, we are giving you a valuable tool to share with all your employees as you continue their education in cultural competence. We are supplying a Timeline of military battles, legislation and events impacting veterans and their achievements in the United States; Facts & Figures demonstrating veteran demographics; “Transitioning Veterans into Your Organizations: A Guide for All Employees,” by Chris Wilson, VP of major accounts at DiversityInc and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran; and our brand new “Memorial Day: What It Means, Why It’s Not ‘Veterans Day’ and How to Approach Your Veterans.” This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your veterans employee resource group both internally and externally as a year-round educational tool.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management professional development and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]

1. Timeline

We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson on veterans by using this Timeline, which documents significant military operations, legislation and other historic events impacting veterans in the United States.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why — or why not — have veterans been valued in this country?

Ask employees what contributions veterans have made to their country and why after certain military operations there was more or less support for them. How does treatment and reputation of veterans impact their role in the workplace?

Why have some barriers, such as women in combat and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, been so hard to end?

How do the military, political and social climates in this country impact issues of civil rights in the armed services? How does this affect veterans and their spouses in the private sector?


2. Facts & Figures

After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand demographics of veterans (important for diversity recruiters) as well as benefits they bring the workplace, such as education, leadership training and ability to act in crisis.

The data we have chosen to present here represents information of relevance to corporate America, such as racial/ethnic, gender, age, education and business ownership (vital for supplier diversity). We also feature the Top 15 Companies for Veterans and the best practices they employ, such as an employee resource group for veterans, having recruitment efforts aimed at veterans, hiring practices aimed at spouses of veterans and increased philanthropic endeavors and supplier diversity for veterans.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Does your company have an employee resource group for veterans?

If not, how would this group benefit your company in increased hiring, engagement and promotion rates? If so, does the group communicate regularly with other employee resource groups, such as groups for people with disabilities? Is the group tasked with improving recruitment, retention and leadership development, as well as community outreach?

Increasingly, veterans’ employee resource groups are being used to also help with onboarding and ensure that veterans acclimate to corporate cultures. It’s also vital to have their managers and other employees understand veterans to ensure a successful transition to corporate life.

Does your company have a supplier diversity program aimed at veterans and/or veterans with disabilities?

Veteran-owned businesses are a valuable part of your procurement chain and can bring important skills and criteria to your organization. Similarly, vendors owned by people with disabilities and especially veterans with disabilities are increasingly included (and targeted) as vital pieces of the procurement budget.

Does your company publicly support veterans?

Strong support from CEOs, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky and Prudential Financial’s John Strangfeld, cements a company’s reputation as a supporter for veterans (Prudential Financial is No. 11 on the 2017 Top 10 Companies for Veterans list). This helps with recruitment, engagement, leadership development and procurement.


3. Transitioning Veterans into Your Organization: A Guide for All Employees

Chris Wilson, vice president of major accounts at DiversityInc and a United States Marine Corps veteran, contributed this new piece for the Veterans Day Meeting in a Box. This guide can be used as a tool for all employees to further their cultural competence. Using his personal experience from an active duty Marine to working in Corporate America and then the non-profit world, Chris provides guidelines in four key areas: common misconceptions, mental health, social interaction and giving back to the community.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Does your company have the resources to help your veterans who may be struggling with mental health issues?

Chris’ company wanted to help but didn’t have the means to do so. Assess what resources your company has to offer not just veterans but all employees who may be dealing with mental health problems.

How can your veterans group specifically help you transition your veterans to the corporate world?

Think about how you can use your vets group and other efforts like these to educate the employee population about what service means, how it impacts individuals and their families and how to maximize the value of veterans in the workplace.

Should you keep politics — or controversial subjects — out of the office?

Whether the subject is military service or race, using employee resource groups and facilitated discussions to openly address issues is the best course of action.

Are volunteer opportunities for employees widely known in your company?

If not, why? Come up with a plan to promote these opportunities. If so, is your veterans resource group specifically made aware of them? If your company does not offer volunteer opportunities for employees at this time, consider some causes that may be meaningful to your company specifically that employees would like to get involved in, or have your employee resource groups make suggestions.

What other offensive words or phrases have you heard directed at veterans or their spouses in the workplace?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity. Many people are the children of veterans and also may be offended by these statements. Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.


4. NEW: Memorial Day: What It Means, Why It’s Not ‘Veterans Day’ and How to Approach Your Veterans

This Memorial Day, we’re providing you an explanation of why Memorial Day is not synonymous with Veterans Day. We also share one veteran’s very personal story about his struggle with PTSD, as well as what you can say to your veterans instead of, “Thank you for your service” on what some veterans consider a difficult and painful holiday

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why might Memorial Day be more difficult for some veterans than others?

No two servicemembers’ experiences are the same. Discuss why some veterans may be more strongly affected by past experiences on Memorial Day than others.

If you can’t say thank you to a living veteran, what can you do to give thanks on Memorial Day?

Connect with your veterans resource group to find out about any volunteer or tribute opportunities you can participate in around this time, such as visiting a veterans cemetery.


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