You know that, as an employer, you must grant an employee a leave of absence to satisfy a requirement for military training (according to the USERRA). But, what are the best ways to support them? Do you understand everything that is required? Do you know how you can best provide support for the employee and their family, while they're fulfilling their obligation and commitment?
Best Way to Support Reserve and Guard Employees
I sat down with Anne Crawford, a career coach and ESGR's Employer Outreach Director of Rhode Island, to discuss the challenges faced by both employers and employees, when the employee is a Service Member. As director, part of Anne's job is to work with Reserve Service Members, helping them navigate their responsibilities of being a civilian employee while also serving their country as a Reserve or Guard Member. She also assists Reserve and Guard Members who have been in the Active Service transition their skillsets into the civilian workforce.
Anne explained who ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) is and how they help employers better understand their responsibilities. We discussed the benefits of companies going the extra mile to support Reserve and National Guard Service Member employees, and why a company would want to hire a Service Member. How it will benefit their business.
Who is ESGR?
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is an organization "established to promote cooperation and understanding between Service members and their civilian employers [that's you] and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from the employee's military commitment." ESGR's goal is to create "a culture in which all American employers value the military service of their employees," and help minimize issues between employers and Service member.
How Can ESGR Help Employers?
ESGR understands the challenges employers face when Service employees have to take time off work to fulfill their military commitments and responsibilities. To assist employers in supporting their Service employee, ESGR provides employer programs, briefings, job fairs, and other resources. These resources help employers understand the duties performed by these employees while they are on Reserve, as well as educate the employer on their rights and responsibilities.
Employers need to understand both their own, and their employee's, rights and responsibilities under the Unified Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). ESGR can help! There is an ESGR committee in each state, territory, and District of Columbia, as well as an ESGR representative available for you, the employer, to answer questions and provide guidance as you navigate the journey. By working with your representative, you can gain a better understanding of the military service requirements and understand the importance of supporting your Service member. Hopefully, you'll even come to realize the value of hiring a member of the Guard and Reserve - and how those benefits outweigh the inconvenience of having to work around their military schedule.
Reasons to Hire Members of the Guard and Reserve
If you want an employee who is a disciplined and skilled worker, who brings pride, leadership, responsibility, and professionalism into the workplace - consider a Service Member.
If you want an employee who understands "the mission of their civilian jobs and makes it a priority to get results, all while displaying a strong work ethic," hire a Service Member.
Visit the ESGR website for more information on why an employer should consider hiring a Guard or Reserve member. You will also find the USERRA fact sheet, tips for employers, top ten reasons why Guard and Reserve members bake good employees, employer FAQ sheet, statement of support programs, and an employer resources guide.
As you navigate the process of employing Service Members, be sure to reach out to the resources available in the community. Go the extra mile and do more than the minimum, when it comes tot he people who serve and protect our country - you, me, and our families.
Written by Lori Narewski