Tesla Seeks Veterans


Tesla Motors is seeking to make the veteran population a more significant source of its workforce. Vets currently make up roughly 5 percent of the car maker workforce of 6,000 plus employees. The company would like to add another 600 to that number.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of veterans is already on the decline and several companies are attempting to add to that trend. Tesla sees the benefit of the advanced skills, especially mechanical, technical and electrical skills that are often acquired by military vets. The motor company’s V.P. of human resources, Arnnon Geshuri says the company wants to be seen by vets as “a great place to work” and the company is doing everything it can to make it exactly that.

As the manufacturer increases production of its popular Model S sedan and starts to introduce the crossover SUV Model X it must expand its workforce. While it is not expected that all of the vacancies created will be filled by vets, there is still a lot of attention being given to creating a workplace environment that recognizes the value, and some of the challenges of the veteran population. Tesla is seeking to incorporate various policies and cultural attitudes that will assist in attracting and retaining a strong veteran population in the company.

The car company works hard to ensure that their vet employees never have to worry about returning to work after a deployment. Vets say the car company makes the process of returning to work after a deployment easy and it is never a worry while they are away. In addition, the organization arranges various meetings geared at using veterans’ expertise to gain new insights and suggestions on improving the company and its products. These moves make the electric vehicle giant a much more welcome environment for vets than competitors such as Ford and General Motors.

Another aspect of Tesla’s approach to recruiting in the vet community is an increased attention to the “language” of the military. Military personnel, and as a result, vets, use certain terms that are not necessarily common, or used the same way as the rest of the workforce. The organization works hard to keep these veterans talking to each other in their own lingo to maintain a sense of community and increase understanding. Because accurate and efficient communication is always crucial to a productive workforce this goes a long way to contributing to both the success of the individuals and the company as a whole.

Groups such as Hiring Our Heroes and VetJobs are championing Tesla’s vet friendly hiring practices but it is not the only company seeking to mine the rich soil of the veteran labor force. Home Depot, PG&E and others have made similar commitments to hiring in the veteran community to take advantage of the skills and work ethic to be found there. Google has devoted energy to not only hiring vets but also providing resources to assist vets in finding work with other companies as well.

With the military budget being reigned in by policymakers in Washington and many vets returning from long tours of duty overseas it is good to see companies stateside taking advantage of the changing times. Tesla Motors seems poised to be at the forefront of not just environmentally conscious vehicle production but also a socially conscious employment policy that focuses on providing peacetime work for the nation’s growing veteran population.

By David Morris

San Jose Mercury News
Bureau of Labor Statistics
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