The importance of building military cultural competency is oftentimes recognized when in a situation where more knowledge is needed. Marjorie Morrison, CEO and founder of PsychArmor Institute shares her organization’s efforts in creating awareness for employers and HR departments through education to help close the civilian-military divide. This discussion continues in part 2 of Military Culture.
Interview recorded Oct 11, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Robert Traynham: The transition from active military service to civilian life poses numerous challenges to veterans and their loved ones. For the 93% of the population [00:00:30] that has not served in uniform, responding and relating to these unique challenges can come with difficulty.
Hello everyone and welcome to Comcast Newsmakers. I’m Robert Traynham. Joining me is Marjorie Morrison. She’s the CEO and founder of PsychArmor Institute
Marjorie, welcome to the program.
Marjorie M: Thanks for having me.
Robert Traynham: It is always good to have you here. Let’s talk for a few moments about this divide, for lack of a better term, between the transition between military life serving our country in uniform, but also the transition to civilian life. Why is it so, for a [00:01:00] lack of a better term, bumpy?
Marjorie M: I think that the average American just doesn’t understand the military veteran, and we have a lot of pre-conceived ideas of what they’re like. So these service members, they have rockstar careers in the military, and then they get out, and they come into civilian life, and we’re like their safety net, but yet, the net has a lot of holes in it. And there’s just so many places for them to fall through and not be appropriately returned back. I always say, they served our country, it’s our job to serve them [00:01:30] when they get back.
Robert Traynham: Right. It sounds like there’s two transitions in that. First, is personal. Obviously just getting re-acclimated with your family. And that’s hard. That can be very difficult for some people.
The second one is, as you mentioned, they have a rockstar career in the military. That skillset, that mindset, that knowledge and wisdom that they have, is that easily transferable to private civilian life, in terms of the workplace?
Marjorie M: I think it is and I’ve seen it happen again and again, but [00:02:00] the problem is, is that the civilian workplace doesn’t always see it, because they oftentimes, as you can imagine when you’re looking for an employee, you have a job description and you’re looking for the closest match in your candidate to that description. And sometimes it’s not that match, but if you go one step further and you look at qualities and core capabilities, there absolutely is that match. It just takes them to have to work a little bit harder.
Robert Traynham: It’s interesting, Marjorie. I have a friend of mine that works in the HR industry, and a couple of years ago she said, “Look at this resume. This person that serves in the military, I don’t even [00:02:30] understand. They’re using jargon that I simply don’t understand.” And I said, “I’m actually reading it differently. I see leadership skills. I see communication skills. I see delegation skills. I see this gentleman in this incidence, that I think is operating $20-$30 million worth of equipment on a daily basis, and they’re 23 years old.”
Marjorie M: That’s right.
Robert Traynham: So it’s an interesting translation. But I guess, my question is, Marjorie, do you think many HR people see resumes that way, and just push it aside?
Marjorie M: Yes. I think it’s getting [00:03:00] better, but there’s a tremendous amount of work that we could do on educating HR folks.
And I think we’re doing a good job in educating HR folks. I think that it’s significantly getting better, but then you have the hiring managers, where it goes from … and they may be the place where it stops. It’s almost as though everybody needs to be educated.
And then, once the veterans get in, we need to educate the company at large to help your environment be military-friendly, and veteran-friendly, and [00:03:30] connect them with other veterans, so that they have some mentors, so that we focus not only just on getting the job, but retaining the job, and staying in it.