At Chesapeake Energy Corporation, we began a veterans hiring program nearly three years ago. It started as a small component of our recruiting efforts; one meant to give back and show our appreciation for the veterans who served our country. Instead, we reaped the benefits as these highly trained individuals joined our work force, sharing their fine-tuned skills and showing us what a good fit their experiences are for the oil and natural gas industry.
Since then, our company has continued to emphasize veteran hiring, and our targeted recruiting outreach has resulted in the employment of more than 350 veterans (more than one-third of the company’s total veteran population).
Chesapeake recently partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program to promote veteran hiring across the country, starting with our industry. With that goal in mind, below are Chesapeake’s top five reasons for hiring veterans. I think you’ll agree that veterans are good for business, particularly our business.
Former military personnel have an unmatched work ethic. The military trains servicemen and servicewomen to be disciplined, thorough and diligent in all of their responsibilities. These qualities are reinforced and rewarded, much like they are in the oil and natural gas industry. While any industry wants hard-working employees, ours demands it.
They possess leadership skills scalable for the field or the board room. Whether stationed overseas or stateside, military men and women learn leadership skills that enable them to make team-oriented decisions in stressful situations. This leadership training transfers to the work environment, as veterans have the confidence to make decisions, as well as the attention to detail to research them thoroughly.
Their commitment to teamwork creates better work environments. Teamwork is key in the military, and often the team’s safety depends on everyone working together. The same can be said for our industry, particularly for our team members working on drilling rigs. A veteran’s ability to balance a group-oriented mindset with leadership skills makes him or her an excellent employee.
The military prepares them with technical training. The technical training individuals receive in the military allows many veterans to advance more quickly in our industry, with a solid foundation on which to build a career. Veterans often have wildly varying skills, including mechanical and engineering training, that are put to good use both in the office and in the field.
They understand our country’s need for energy independence. Most veterans, particularly those who served overseas, saw firsthand the danger surrounding our country’s dependence on foreign oil. And many of our veterans remarked that after service they wanted a civilian job that made a difference. By working to produce domestic energy resources and reduce OPEC oil imports, they are extending their mission to protect national security while growing their careers.
Early reports suggest an estimated 30,000 military personnel will return from service in the next 18 months. Not only will these men and women face the often difficult transition to civilian life, but most will experience higher unemployment rates than nonveterans.
I’m proud to see the oil and natural gas industry growing and creating so many needed jobs for our country. Our industry has thousands of jobs available, many of which relate to skills gained from military experience. I hope that we will all make a commitment to honor our servicemen and servicewomen by considering them for the high-paying and rewarding careers our industry offers.
About the Author
Lisa Phelps joined Chesapeake as Vice President of Human Resources in January 2007. In this position, Phelps oversees employee relations, recruitment and staffing, human resource compliance, training and development, and 401k & Deferred Compensation administration for more than 12,200 employees. Chesapeake has been named a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For four years in a row.
Phelps came to Chesapeake with more than 18 years of human resources experience, a BA in Human Resources from Golden Gate University in 1992, and an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University in 1998. Phelps is actively involved in the Oklahoma City community (where Chesapeake is headquartered), including serving on the board of directors for Child Advocates of Oklahoma County (CASA).