Best Buy encourages veterans to 'Be human, Make it real, and Think about tomorrow'

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Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Best Buy committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Best Buy is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

Best Buy's corporate culture is a great environment for people of diverse backgrounds, including military veterans. Not only do they encourage veterans to apply with the help of the military skills translator on the Career Portal website that helps translate military experience into civilian leadership terms, but they also actively support employees in the National Guard or Reserves who need to take time away from work for drill weekends and deployments.

Hirepurpose spoke with two employees to learn more about the ways Best Buy encouraged them during their military career.

Be human, Make it real

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Nicole Kukla (Courtesy photo)

Nicole Kukla is a Multi-Channel Manager at Best Buy in the Minneapolis Region. She joined the Army National Guard while still in high school, deployed to Iraq, and made a Sergeant by age 19. She says the military taught her a lot about discipline, organization, and leadership of people who are very different from you.

All those skills were applied to her career at Best Buy, which began right after high school working in the stores. Kukla worked with Best Buy throughout her time in the National Guard. "I never had an issue with Best Buy supporting the military, even in the beginning. If you have proof of orders, drill dates, 2-week AIT, or deployment Best Buy will keep your job for you. Someone may fill in, but you will catch up and be informed of exactly what you missed and where you left off. You won't be behind in your career or penalized for spending time away for military service."

Kukla is proud of the ways Best Buy supports veterans and very involved as a leader of the Military ERG (employee resource group) within Best Buy. She says the guiding behaviors "Be human, Make it real" has a big impact on all employees, making it a comfortable environment for veterans to work after deployments. "When I come here, I feel safe to be myself. Before 2016, I would feel if I said I had PTSD people looked at me like I was crazy. Now I feel comfortable with who I am and can talk candidly to a manager about anything."

Best Buy programs like Life Solutions, Military ERG and Candid Conversations are free to all employees. They create an environment where people are encouraged to discuss mental health challenges and solutions. According to Kukla, "When getting out of the military, you need to re-discover who you are. Best Buy helps you discover who you are, be the best version of yourself, and work for a company that helps you achieve great things."

Think about tomorrow

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Adam Lindeman(Courtesy photo)

Adam Lindeman, a Retail Services Manager for Best Buy, has a similar story. When he first joined the Best Buy team selling CD's at age 16, he never imagined it would become a career. He joined the Marine Reserves while still in high school because he "always had a sense of duty to public service, and wanted to do something significant with my life after 9/11."

While going through Marine Reserve training and two deployments to Iraq, Lindeman says, "I learned that Best Buy was supportive of the military. Best Buy walked me through the Leave of Absence program. I was amazed they had a program where the veteran would not lose tenure, and would continue to give me half my Best Buy pay during my deployment."

Lindeman was wounded overseas and returned with a back injury. He was grateful for Best Buy's support during his treatment. "Best Buy was so supportive of my needs with flexibility for medical appointments, half-day shifts, etc. They quickly found me a home to fit in—Sales Manager." At this point, Lindeman decided to remain with Best Buy and continue to pursue leadership positions to further his career.

Lindeman had been in positions to interview and hire many employees, including veterans. He says, "I have hired many veterans because I see traits like the ability to adapt, think on the fly, perform in a calm manner, eagerness to get it done and accomplish tasks, strategic ability to analyze situations, confidence, the ability to slow down and ask questions, and confidence in executing tasks. Principles like respect, judgement, and decisiveness, are all taught in the military, but they are rare in the corporate world. I can teach people about technology and how to sell a TV, but I can't teach leadership skills, compassion, and finding solutions."

Best Buy is now helping veterans "Think about tomorrow" and find great long-term careers at Best Buy. Their Career Portal website helps explain what traits and skills veterans from different military careers might bring to Best Buy. Lindeman explains, "The site does a good job translating military skills, refining language, and helping people see where they might fit in. It was effective on our leadership side, too. Our leaders don't understand what being a Platoon leader or a certain rank means, so it helps them understand what veterans have to offer."

Both these veterans have found their careers enhanced at Best Buy. They enjoy the veteran-friendly working environment, the opportunity to interact with new people every day, and the ongoing support that Best Buy offers to anyone with military service obligations. Veterans are encouraged to visit the Career Portal website to see here they may fit into the Best Buy team.

This post is sponsored by Best Buy