By Tom Coughlin
November 5, 2009
With Veterans Day upon us, we are reminded to take some time to thank a veteran for his or her service and to honor the memories of those who fought for our country and did not come home. But in the business community, we can do more than that, all year long, by bringing veterans into our organizations.
As the senior executive for Comcast in Michigan, I have seen firsthand the special contributions that employees with military experience make in the workforce.
Comcast has identified the recruitment of employees with military experience as a key component of our broader goal of ensuring a diverse workforce. This commitment is bearing fruit at every level of the company as we strive to deliver our customers the superior service they expect and deserve.
I attribute this to the fact that employees with military experience walk in the door on day one already knowing a lot about leadership and teamwork. They also have experience working in large organizations and often have highly developed problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills.
In our Flint office, for example, U.S. Coast Guard Reservist Michael Barcia works as a technician with one of our local technical operations teams. Michael’s job is to support customers in their homes - installing new services, teaching customers how to use them and making repairs - and he has truly distinguished himself as someone who goes the extra mile for his customers, every time. To me, the ultimate measure of his impact has come from the customers he has helped - they have told us that Michael is incredibly helpful and patient when it comes to teaching them how to use their services, that he is extremely professional and that he is a great representative of the company.
We have also found strong employees through the personal networks of veterans and active duty servicemen and servicewomen already working for Comcast who tell their friends about the benefits they receive. Beyond the requirement that we hold a job for individuals who are deployed overseas, we also offer differential pay for those employees who join Comcast with continuing deployment obligations. So, if they are called to service, we cover the difference between their Comcast salary and their military pay for up to a year, lessening the burden for them and their families when they are away. This is one way we show these employees that we appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our country and the contributions they are making to our company.
I would encourage the business community to join Comcast this coming week in saluting our nation’s veterans on Veterans Day and to keep an eye out for their resumes all year long. It’s not just good behavior. It’s good business.
Tom Coughlin is senior vice president of Comcast’s Michigan Region.