Veteran in the workplace

Employee Resource Network Supports Veterans

This year, Veterans Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11. On this day, we honor those who have served us. Some say when you have joined the military, you have joined the largest family in the country. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to support many of those veterans here in Michigan, through professional growth opportunities. 

WHAT VETERANS BRING TO THE WORKFORCE 

Military veterans operate on accelerated learning curves. Throughout their careers, they are trained to take on new and diverse roles with added responsibilities. They are taught to understand the big picture, while maintaining attention to detail. Additionally, veterans understand how to persevere under high levels of adversity, recognize the value of teamwork and bring a commitment to accomplishing a mission. Veterans bring these skills and more to the workplace, making them an integral part of BCBSM. 

Additional strengths that veterans can bring to the workplace include: 

  • Working well in a team: Teamwork is considered an essential part of daily life and is the foundation on which safe military operations are built. 
  • Having a sense of duty Taking pride in one’s responsibility for job performance and accountability for completing missions. 
  • Experiencing self-confidence: Holding a realistic estimation of self and ability based on experiences. 

SUPPORTING VETERANS 

Approximately six years ago, BCBSM formed the Veterans Employee Resource Network (ERN) to perpetuate that familiar military feeling of family. The ERN’s mission is to provide opportunities through the understanding of the Veteran community, both internally and externally. The ERN serves as a support to all employees, including veterans, non-veterans and family members of employees who are active duty, reserve or other military status. Through employee engagement, awareness, education, community outreach, recruitment and retention efforts and mentoring opportunities, the ERN strives to be the go-to-group for all things related to the veteran community.

Lori Galloway is a Navy veteran and currently serves as the co-chair of the ERN. Lori has seen the value of the ERN first-hand. “It has provided me with many new friendships internally and externally by coordinating our events, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Galloway said. 

She has applied the things she learned while serving her country to her job now, such as how to work with people. “You learn that it is not just the person at the top of the pyramid who is the leader, it is up to all of us to lead even if it is the smallest task of leading a meeting as a host, onboarding a new employee to the department or being co-chair.” 

William Plies is the vice president of Corporate Strategy at BCBSM. He served in the Air Force as an officer for over seven years. When approached with the idea of creating BCBSM’s ERN, Plies “felt grateful and proud.” 

It showed Blue Cross recognized the diversity and unique contributions that veterans bring to our workforce, and the organization has since taken actions to increase veteran hires and help veterans transition to civilian life,” Plies said. 

The ERN was created to be the premier resource for all things veteran-related, and it has consistently raised the level of understanding across the workforce through various inclusion and diversity events, while contributing to several local veterans’ groups. 

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Photo credit: Drazen Zigic

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