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(This is the first in a periodic series of blogs where I am going to feature one of my clients using a tactic they learned from attending a workshop or web seminar on improving recruitment of military veterans.  The intent is to describe the tactic, how the company employed it and the results it achieved.  These case study blogs will be followed by a live Q&A web seminar, where you can attend and ask questions of the company representative to learn more details and take away ideas to implement in your organization.)

You might not think that military members and insurance companies would be a natural fit.  Progressive Insurance, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, would strongly disagree. They find that veterans do well at Progressive because they’re able to adapt to changing situations, lead teams, and they understand the importance of having objectives. Progressive ranked #67 On G.I. Jobs Top Military Friendly Employers list for 2012, and is successfully using a tactic called “Open House”, which they learned in one of my workshops on how to improve recruitment of military veterans.

An open house is an event where a company provides veterans and transitioning military members access to its recruiters and hiring managers.  Progressive held an open house in September 2011 in Colorado Springs at one of its customer contact facilities.  The company was looking to fill a number of roles common to the insurance industry: claims adjusters, customer service, and insurance sales.

Actions Progressive took before the event:

  • Determined which roles were a good fit for military members
  • Gained commitment from 20 hiring managers and 5 recruiters to participate in the event
  • Coached recruiters and hiring managers on how to talk to veterans about these opportunities (i.e., skill set fit, career progression, job locations, etc.)
  • Notified all of the (FREE) government and non-profit resources of veteran talent in the Colorado Springs area (Local Veteran Employment Reps, military transition centers at the local bases, the Air Force Academy, etc.) that the event was taking place and to get the word out to service members and military spouses
  • Utilized (FREE) social media, like LinkedIn and Twitter, to market the event to veterans
  • Did a small amount of local advertizing (newspaper and radio) to market the event in the few days before it occurred
  • Asked interested veterans to register for the event (seen as a sign of commitment to attend and also allows for reminders to be sent out)

Actions Progressive took during the event:

  • Guarenteed every veteran who attended an opportunity to meet with a recruiter and/or a hiring manager to discuss opportunities
  • Made information packets available for each of the opportunities, so the service member could review the content before meeting with a Progressive representative
  • Offered  workshops on resume review and interviewing tips while at the event. 

Results achieved:

  • 100 veterans, transitioning military and military spouses registered to attend the event
  • 80 military members actually attended the event; all had an opportunity to speak with a recruiter and/or a hiring manager
  • 45 attendees entered the hiring process and so far 5 have been offered a position with Progressive. 

Gina Simonovich, Progressive’s military recruiting program lead, reports that the only reason more attendees have not yet completed the hiring process as a result of attending the event was that many of the service members were not actually leaving the active military for another 8-12 months, and they attended the event to get more information now to start planning for their transition.  Those military members have relocation benefits, courtesy of the Department of Defense, so they could talk to the Progressive team about opportunities in many other cities, including the headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.  So, Gina’s team has added them to their Talent Network and will continue to inform them of opportunities with Progressive over the next year, thereby building a pipeline of military candidates.

On Friday February 24th from 12:30 – 1:30 pm ET The Value Of a Veteran’s Lisa Rosser is hosting an open Q&A session with Gina Simonovich and Connie Dingeman from Progressive.  All three will be available to answer questions from recruiters and diversity pros on conduct of an open house event.  This Q&A session is FREE, and you do need to register to receive the webinar URL and dial in number.  Click here to register or go to www.TheValueOfaVeteran.com/webinars and select “Live Webinars” to see this session and other topics offered.

Military members:  Progressive is currently hiring in Austin, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Phoenix and Tampa. To find out more about jobs at Progressive, visit http://www.progressive.com/jobs/.