How your veteran employee can help morale

  • by
How your veteran employee can help morale

As we move through the coronavirus crisis, it can have a detrimental impact on your staff – whether they are working from home or still coming into work.  Morale must be kept up as this is a worrying time for everyone – despite the Governments attempts to support businesses.  And so, with this in mind, we will look at how your veteran employee can help morale at this time.

It is often said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. If you have noticed a decrease in morale recently, then it may be that management are impacting on the team.  It could be just one manager or team leader who is creating a situation which you need to nip in the bud.

Often people are promoted to their level of incompetency – known as The Peter Principle – where they are very good at their role and so are promoted.  It is seen as a natural progression but sometimes it can have the opposite effect and they may have been better served being a mentor.

In the Forces, promotion is very strictly monitored with many tests and probationary periods.  It is crucial that no one is promoted for the wrong reasons – it genuinely can cost lives.  So, if you employ a higher ranked veteran into management, you can be confident in their ability to lead and to manage people effectively.

By having a veteran in a position of authority, they can draw upon their unique skillset and training and recognise what is needed within their team.  There are many factors which can impact upon employee morale and therefore retention – we will take a look in turn and highlight how your veteran employee can help morale.

Poor leadership

It is quite common that poor leaders have been inadvertently taught their bad habits by poor leaders – this could be from school or their first managers at work.  They may have moaned about their previous managers but have picked up those traits and are unknowingly using them themselves.  Veterans are taught by world class leaders and know the requirements to be a strong leader;

  • A clear vision of what is required
  • Strong ethics and integrity
  • Generate trust from their team
  • A ‘can do’ attitude not a ‘put up and shut up’ attitude
  • Open channels of communication
  • Understanding, empathy, humility and kindness
  • Taking people out of their comfort zone
  • Leading change and innovation to keep their team motivated

All of these skills – and more – make great leaders and the impact that these qualities can have on staff morale cannot be overlooked.

Closed Mindset

Humans are naturally lazy! We will always find a way to do something which is quicker and simpler.  A good leader will recognise this and will encourage their staff to find new ways of doing something or being more productive.  A veteran will inspire their team to be innovative and free thinking – listening to their ideas and suggestions. They are not arrogant enough to think they know everything and someone who is an expert in a role will be able to find ways of saving ‘time and motion’.

If employees feel they are being listened to and their ideas implemented, they will feel motivated and will want to stay.  They will feel valued and part of the organisation rather than a number without an opinion.

Negative natter

It is quite easy for morale to take a dip when one person plants seeds in others minds about what ‘they’ see as failings of the company.  ‘Water cooler’ moments can let these ideas fester and spread and other staff will also look for things that they dislike about their job, their boss or the company.

A veteran will have experience of this and, as teamwork is critical in the forces, they will have strategies to not only stop the bad feeling from spreading but from it starting in the first place.  This may involve tough conversations and an open door policy but either way, it prevents negativity setting in and impacting on turnover of staff and morale.

We have a blog which covers what recruiting a veteran can bring to your company here


Many businesses sugar coat the information that is shared with staff for fear of upsetting the apple cart.  However, a long serving employee will recognise changes in orders, deliveries, stock etc and will be able to form their own conclusions.  If the messages from management do not align with their beliefs, they will feel they aren’t being told the whole truth.

It is important that an honest and open attitude allows staff to know what is going on at all times and get them on board.  A veteran will know how to convey bad news in such a way that the staff will be on side and want to pitch in and help.  Building honest communication from the top down generates trust and enthusiasm for your company.  This is also true of mistakes which are made – honesty and openness goes a long way with people.

Lack of Goals and Focus

Veterans will be able to give clear instructions and vision as to what is expected from their team – a lack of this can impact on morale. If you were to go to work every day and not know what was expected of you this would in the long term take its toll.

A veteran will ensure that you are aware of the bigger picture and the part you play in the overall team and that your contribution matters.

As you can see, a veteran on your management team can make a positive contribution to your staff morale.

If you feel that a veteran can help your company, then please give us a call on 01543 224424.