Veterans Day, which falls on November 11, is a federal holiday commemorating the treaty which ended World War 1. It was first celebrated on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the formal agreement to end the war. When your company celebrates Veterans Day, it can be an opportunity to celebrate the freedoms afforded to you by the sacrifices of others, as well as boost employee morale and build your company’s brand. 

Why Is It Important For Your Company To Celebrate Veterans Day? 

Hosting a Veterans Day celebration can be a great way of honoring the veterans in your workplace and also creating a sense of community among your employees.

Highlighting veterans in your workplace

You may have a few veterans and former service members at your workplace, and you can highlight their service by hosting a public celebration for Veterans Day. You may wish to ask your employees if any of them have served in the military and, if so, give them a place of prominence within the celebration. This helps to boost morale among those who’ve served in the military. 

For many veterans, it’s a source of pride to have served their country, so you might give them the opportunity to share some of their experiences—if they feel comfortable doing so. Making their voices central to the celebrations is a mark of honor and respect and allows other employees to show their appreciation. 

Benefits for your organization

  • Reinforces company culture: When one group of people feels like they are acknowledged and honored, there is a secondary effect in which many other employees feel appreciated and a part of a larger community. By hosting regular events that highlight the achievements of individuals at your company, you can help to create a sense of belonging.
  • Helps establish your brand: By acknowledging the service of veterans at your workplace, you’re conveying an image that your company is quick to acknowledge the accomplishments of its employees. Also, by choosing to take time out of your day to remember those who fought for your country, you’re communicating the values that you uphold within your organization. 
  • Promotes diversity: By creating a space for conversation about the experiences of your veterans, a Veterans Day celebration can help foster an ethos of mutual understanding and respect for people with different backgrounds and perspectives.

How Can You Properly Implement A Company Veterans Day Celebration? 

Creating a safe place

When planning a Veterans Day celebration, it’s vital to create a safe place where nobody feels uncomfortable. First, ask the veterans in your office whether or not they want to be highlighted individually. Some veterans may have painful memories of combat, which they may not want directly addressed. 

Also, focus your event on gratitude for the sacrifices made by former service members rather than the outcome of the military operations they engaged in. This will help to avoid any discomfort for other employees—for example, those who might hold strong pacifist feelings.

Below, you can find a list of important things you may wish to include as part of your Veterans Day celebration.

  • A moment of silence: Every Veterans Day, there is a moment of silence at 11 am to signify the guns going silent at the end of World War I. While some workplaces may be unable to celebrate at exactly 11 am and may choose to take a moment of reflection at another time, the gesture will still be appreciated.
  • Provide food: Like most celebrations, providing food is a great way to create a welcoming atmosphere. Patriotic decorations, such as mini flags, are a nice touch. You might also allow the veterans at your workplace to get their food first as a sign of respect.
  • Donations and care packages: You may also choose to provide donations or care packages for active-duty service members. The benefit of this is to make a philanthropic gesture that your employees can rally behind while also providing outside exposure for your brand. Management might implement this, or you could establish an employee committee to oversee it. It might be a good idea to spread this activity out over the course of an entire week so as not to disrupt company operations.
  • Have a party: A great way to honor your veterans is to host an office party. Parties foster team cohesion and boost the morale of team members. For your Veterans Day party, pick up festive decorations, like flags or flag bunting, and focus on creating a hospitable, enjoyable environment.

How Can Companies Celebrate Their Veterans Outside Of Veterans Day? 

There are many opportunities to acknowledge the service of the veterans in your office outside of Veterans Day. As a company, you can also support organizations that provide outreach to former service members. 

Hire a veteran

Some veterans may have a hard time integrating back into civilian life, and many organizations, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have programs in place to reduce unemployment and homelessness. These have helped to limit veteran unemployment to 2.7% at the time of writing. One way that you can show respect to former service members is to create a hiring program for veterans and give them an opportunity to serve your company with honor and distinction.

Proudly exhibit the flag

Flying the flag is a good way to promote patriotism as a company value. Keep the flag in good working order, and display it proudly above the state and company flag. You may also want to exhibit the prisoner of war/missing in action flag for all of those service members who never made it home.

Say thank you

Try to say thank you to the veterans who work at your workplace more than just once a year on Veterans Day. During other celebrations throughout the year, including Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations, be sure to thank them for their service.

Conclusion 

When creating a Veterans Day celebration, always seek to create a safe place where nobody feels uncomfortable. These celebrations honor the veterans in your workplace by thanking them for their service. They also help to create a cohesive company culture while showing that your workplace is one in which personal achievements will be recognized and highlighted.

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