This article was originally posted on Military Times. Read the full article here.
Letting Leaders Lead: Professional Careers for Veterans with Spectrum
On a regular basis, business leaders across Customer Service Operations call centers in St. Louis, Missouri look to Chuck Veillon for his input on how best to attract, retain, and develop talent for Charter Communications, a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator known through its Spectrum brand. In his role as a Director of Human Resources at Charter, Veillon, who is a 26-year Air Force veteran, provides strategic HR consultation in support of 600 operational staff and pursues his passion for developing veteran talent.
“I fell in love with Spectrum during the recruitment process,” said Veillon. “Spectrum really did their homework and they listened. They truly understand what veterans bring to the table. From my initial interview and throughout my day-to-day work, company leaders have sought my advice and implemented many of my recommendations.”
Veillon is part of the Customer Operations team, which helps to keep Spectrum’s residential and business customers connected. This team, a sizable segment of the company’s more than 93,000 employees, plays a key role in Spectrum’s success, because – at its core – Spectrum is a customer-first company.
This group is led by Cliff Hagan, a Navy veteran, graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and Executive Vice President of Customer Operations. As a member of Charter’s senior leadership team, Hagan helps set the tone for the company’s customer-service approach, drawing on his military background to let leaders lead.
“Customer Operations is a mission-driven business,” Hagan said. “Our mission is to create the best customer experience possible for every one of our 32 million customers. To do this, we recruit and promote leaders, and veterans tend to be strong leaders who can envision and execute a plan that advances our customer centric strategy.”
Hagan has helped establish a culture at Spectrum where veterans’ experiences are appreciated and recognized, where veterans have the opportunity to fully leverage their leadership and mission-oriented focus to build a long and successful career. Spectrum’s workforce is nine percent veterans across all levels of the company, from frontline field technicians to senior management.
“Spectrum has a long-term commitment to recruit and hire veterans,” said Deana Zimmerman, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition. “In our Customer Operations unit, we have found veterans are ideally suited for professional roles that leverage their people and problem-solving skills, including in human resources, recruiting, project management and business analytics.”
The Spectrum Military Recruiting team pursues a number of avenues to recruit veterans, including engagement with military spouses, and partnerships with organizations like Hiring our Heroes, FourBlock and Vets 2 Industry.
Spectrum’s commitment to veterans extends beyond the recruiting phase: the company gains the most value from its veteran team members by supporting, empowering and promoting them.
Hagan is the executive sponsor of Spectrum’s Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG), which offers mentorship, professional development and camaraderie, and also business support. The group enjoys robust participation from reservists, those recently separated from the military, longtime veterans and others in the military community.
“I love the Veterans BRG and the other support Spectrum provides,” said Zaki’ya Black, Customer Operations Manager and a 15-year Army Reserve veteran. “Like the military, Spectrum gives you what you need to succeed, and then trusts and encourages you to jump in and get the job done.”
Stefan Bryant, Vice President of Business Integration, has experienced the potential for exponential career growth for veterans. Bryant, who served in the Army National Guard for eight years and previously recruited for Spectrum with Hiring our Heroes, began his career with Spectrum as a Senior Manager and is now a Vice President managing a team tasked with implementing business critical systems.
“My military training taught me how to engage and motivate a wide variety of people, and how to be resilient,” Bryant said. “This contributed to my success and promotions here.”
Spectrum’s approach to veterans is grounded in an understanding of the many benefits veterans bring to the corporate world. The company has established a culture where veterans and their service experiences are valued and where veteran voices are included in making decisions.
Customer Operations formed a Veteran Advisement Committee to bring veteran perspectives front and center. The Committee consists of leaders from multiple departments, including employees who are veterans of all military branches. The group meets monthly to consult on and advance initiatives designed to attract, retain and engage veterans.
“Veterans come with a commitment like no other,” said Veillon, who has a leadership role on the Veterans Advisement Committee. “A veteran wants their employer to reciprocate that commitment and support. Spectrum has created this type of culture.”