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When it comes to fixing short term recruiting problems, the military does a great job. In a time when we are fighting two wars it seems as if meeting recruiting numbers would be hard. The military is actually meeting all their goals and in some instances exceeding them. The Army does a great job of finding solutions that keep the recruits coming. One particular program is the MAVNI initiative that was started in New York City and was recently adopted in Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago. Through the MAVNI program, immigrants without green cards that possess particular language skills or have a medical background can enlist in the service and speed up their path toward citizenship.
A stunning 69% of these recruits have at least a bachelor’s degree. The positions that these recruits fill typically take a long time to train for or teach, and this program is meeting the immediate need of the Army. The Navy will adapt a similar program soon as well. With the recession and programs similar to MAVNI that allow for recruits that were not considered in the past, goals are being met and exceeded. This is great news for military recruiting, but the big question remains what about the long term recruiting strategies? It will be interesting to see how many of the MAVNI recruits are retained past their first term of enlistment. When the economy improves, the pool of current potential recruits will most likely lessen as the economic situation improves. In times of economic hardship the military typically does well in the recruiting arena, so it is not surprising that the numbers are being met.
In a time when all the pieces are falling together, the military must work even harder to assure they will continue to be successful in meeting recruiting goals for the future. Motivating the typical 17-24 crowd is not an easiest task as this generation has grown up with no formal ties to the military; they are growing up with parents that are not serving and the overall media not being very military friendly. The challenge will remain on how to showcase all the benefits that the service provides both intrinsically and extrinsically in a language that this generation understands and responds to. Service to country and the more tangible benefits the service offers will always be key incentives that will be attractive. The messaging of those benefits will be the variable that will require constant change in order to continue being effective and successfully reach the 17-24 audience. As many traditional companies are re-evaluating their marketing mix, the military will have to do so as well in order to obtain the highest level recruit.