Veterans with disabilities bring unique possibilities to workplace
As military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, the number of veterans with disabilities returning to the civilian workforce will remain steady.
According to a recent report from the Conference Board, a group that researches business and economic issues, veterans with disabilities present employers with unique opportunities if handled properly.
"Veterans bring some valuable capabilities to the workplace," the report explained. "These include practical skill and training that can transfer to civilian life -- discipline and the ability to work as part of a team."
However, because veterans often return with hidden impairments like post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and depression, employers need to be aware of how these conditions affect veterans and how they can change over time.
The report cited Cornell University research that human resources professionals often exhibit mistaken impressions about post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
"Symptoms can be subtle and vary significantly by individual," the report explained. "There is no 'one size fits all' solution."
The report explained that post-traumatic stress often involves flashbacks and nightmares, social withdrawal, emotional numbing, and loss of interest in life activities. It can also result in hypervigilance, irritability, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.
When it comes to traumatic brain injury, the report explained that it often results in a shorter attention span, short-term memory difficulties, organizational challenges, headaches, and mental fatigue.
To handle these challenges, the report advised employers to allow veterans with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury to have flexible work schedules and to provide them with schedule reminders. Likewise, checklists and other memory aids.
White noise or environmental sound machines can also be helpful at reducing workplace distractions or sounds that could aggravate veterans' startle response symptoms.
It also recommended that employers keep the focus on the veteran and what will allow her to best get the job done.
"The degree to which an individual will need any or all of these supports will vary based on his or her particular set of symptoms and desires," the report advised.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
April 8, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications