Michael Hansen talks Millennial Veterans and The Workplace

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Millennial Veterans

Millennial Veterans is a term you may not have heard of, but they are a quickly becoming a critical component in the modern workforce.  As political tides turn, global economies shift and baby boomers retire, millennial veterans bring a unique and powerful mindset to the challenges many companies face in such a dynamically shifting business climate. Some of the overwhelming advantages this demographic showcases is their unwavering sense of purpose, a team first approach to culture and mentorship, ease of coachability, a mission-driven pride in ownership, and real world perspective. What separates these millennials from the rest, above all else, is that that they signed a contract to give their lives, not just in service of their country, but to serve their family, friends and communities. Now that they are civilians, how do they adjust to their “new-normal” and find meaningful careers? Careers that embody the same spirit of company, community, and country as their military service. Power Home Remodeling, the nation’s second largest exterior home remodeler, is leading this effort through their Power Veterans Initiative, which focuses on aggressively hiring former military personnel to lead the company toward the apex of its industry – while also changing the mindset of a country.

We spoke with Michael Hansen at Power who talks about Millennial Veterans, their difficulties heading back into the workplace and the future for Power Home Remodeling.

Michael Hansen

Who is Power Home Remodeling? 

Power Home Remodeling is the nation’s second-largest residential exterior remodeling company, specializing in energy-saving retrofits, including solar panels, replacement windows, doors, siding, roofing and attic insulation. Driven by our culture, Power was named by Fortune Magazine as the No. 1 Best Place to Work for Millennials and for Camaraderie in 2015. Power’s award winning culture represents camaraderie at the core of everything we do, which is why the alignment and launch of our Power Veterans Initiative has been so successful. 

With the new administration coming in the new year, what do you will be accomplished in regards to our veterans?

We are fond of programs that have direct impact on the military families and veterans around the country, therefore we encourage more public and private programs to enhance our workforce, improve leadership and drive our economy forward. While we cannot speculate how the new administration will change the veterans climate, we believe that real social change is most impacted at the community and small-midsize business levels. No voice or effort is too small to make a difference in our communities and our country. This is a theme which we truly take to heart. By treating our customers and employees with respect, with their best intentions first, we can better serve our communities and make real impact in our countries workforce and everyone the growing Power family touches.

What tips do you give veterans entering the workforce?

The transition into the civilian sector can be tremendously advantageous to veterans, but it’s not always easy. Speaking from experience: I was laid off in 2008 and lost everything, had to complete my education while raising a family, wait tables, bartend and sleep on couches at times just to get by. What helped me the most was focusing on the transition as a mission in itself. My new mission everyday was to develop relationships, learn new skills, remain humble and find whatever worked. This was important, not only for my immediate family, but for the message each one of us sends to all the other transitioning veterans that follow. To have struggled and achieved, is the true story about veterans today that I like to tell the world, and the veterans themselves. Emerson said “In my walks, every man or woman I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from them.” This must be the mantra we veterans embody to shift our beliefs of what’s possible and realize our true potential.

Another core concept is that everything is about teamwork. There are amazing veteran organizations out there like Team Red White and Blue, The Travis Manion Foundation, Bunker Labs and Got Your 6. Get connected, get active and find out how to continue to serve. As veterans, we have held a position where our sense of purpose is difficult to match. Without a sense of purpose, it’s hard to define our vision and trajectory in life and the negatives take control. So perhaps the most important thing to do is to find a purpose and continue to serve. This is why getting connected with the veteran community in your area will lead to success. As the African proverb so eloquently states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Veterans must stick together.

What are some misconceptions that many have about veterans?

In the media and in corporate America, most organizations depict veterans as either heroes or broken. While this is true for about 15% of the veterans who return home, the overwhelming majority is willing and ready to work and to lead. Not only will they become great assets to any organization, but often veterans are disproportionally successful. The confusion happens when organizations fail to properly assist in on-boarding the veteran, either through training the individual, or creating a positive culture where military families and veterans can thrive. The transition does not end when the veteran receives a job, actually, this, is where it begins. For veterans and employers, this must be the time where both parties are learning and evolving the most. The first six months of employment is the real transition period, and when the on-boarding of said military candidates is fully addressed, this will be reciprocated with tremendous performance.

When many hear veteran, they think of people who have been in the military for years. What is the actual description of a veteran?

In layman’s terms, anyone who has signed their life in the protection of their country should be classified as a veteran. As our nation has been at war for over 15 years now since 9/11, we noticed a rising need specifically for post 9/11 veterans. Having a largely millennial workforce, we felt the development of an initiative to assist, both the increasing need for veteran hiring, and our national growth models. The alignment of the two has been a perfect marriage.

How hard is it for veterans to transition into the workforce?

We all experience transitions in life, a new job, a new or end of a relationship, a new country or city, etc. The difference is this transition for the military is an accelerated multiplication of many of the aforementioned transitions occurring simultaneously, but specifically the culture. For many transitioning service members, they literally are leaving the most inclusive culture, relocating, searching for and transitioning into a new type of workforce, leaving many of their previous relationships, and despite their previous success, they often are starting completely from the beginning. All this happens at the same time. The additional layer, or variable, is how the veteran is coping with previous experiences from training or deployments. This is a true recipe for chaos. But for many, something here happens. This is the time where the chaos which would consume most, creates a resilience in the individual. The military training, adaptability and extreme ownership comes to order. This process varies in length per the individual, but it lies within all veterans waiting to be exercised. This is what most organizations should look for and build on-boarding policies to compliment.

What is in the future for Power?

Power is a family. At Power, we relentlessly chase perfection and to challenge the status quo of tomorrow. The organization has cultivated a history of redefining the rules of our industry, expanding typical industry channels and setting the new standard. Through our evolutionary culture, we surround ourselves with the thinkers, innovators and doers who choose to actively redefine our energy solutions and improve the lives of our consumers and employees. Our veteran workforce will continue to grow and create their own new opportunities and ultimately perpetuate the American dream. We can expect Power to expand from 17 to all 50 states while absorbing the most cutting edge technologies to make our lives AND our environment better.

Click here to read the Civilian Workforce Survey of Millennial Veterans Fielded by Power Home Remodeling™

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