Book Reviews

Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Veterans
Author: Emily King
Publisher: Amacom, 2012
Pages: 187
ISBN: 978-0-814417-79-9

In any given week, chances are that you get many applications from many job seekers. That?s no surprise, no matter what shape the economy is in. What caught your eye this time, however, is the fact that the number has soared. Veterans are returning to the civilian workforce in waves and they?re reaching out to you for employment. Fortunately, you might have a place for someone with military experience but making room on the payroll isn?t all you?ll need to do. In the new book Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Veterans, by Emily King, you?ll learn how to keep the best employee you may ever have.

Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Veterans
Every year, and particularly now, tens of thousands of military personnel leave their old jobs to join the ranks of civilian workers. You?d love to tap into a veteran?s discipline, that can-do attitude and the training that comes from working for everybody?s favorite Uncle. But there are things you need to do before you post a Help Wanted ad. There are considerations on both sides of the desk, and preparation is key.

First, understand that most employees don?t leave a job, they leave a manager. Managing properly for retention, therefore, is what you ultimately want. Since the average veteran goes through three jobs before acclimating to civilian workplaces, it?s to your advantage to anticipate the challenges that will come with transition. At issue is that the military is a very different kind of business than the one you have in the civilian world, and you can?t make assumptions. Your new hire may never have had to negotiate for salary or benefits. He or she may be unaccustomed to a more casual, less-regimented office with unique relationships between employees. Office hours are gentler. Even the uniforms are different.

So what can you do for your new hire to help with what amounts to a diversity issue and a ?culture clash.?? How can you keep him or her working for you?

Arm yourself with an understanding of what your employee is leaving behind and how it affects thinking. Make sure he or she knows what the job entails, how departments work together and what is expected. Don?t assume anything. Pair a new employee with an established co-worker who is a veteran, too.? Check in often and keep the doors of communication wide open.

You?ve seen the posters and ads reminding you to hire a veteran. Does it really have to be this hard? Author Emily King has studied this subject at length and she says that it could be, but that knowledge is essential for ?[A]nticipating and heading off challenges? .?

I liked that King, who has a passion for this subject and has ?committed? herself to ensuring that veterans are prepared for civilian workplaces, gives employers lots of tools for keeping those challenges in perspective. I also appreciated the first-hand accounts from veterans who?ve made the transition. Be aware that this book is occasionally repetitive, may feel like baby steps at times, and is nowhere near reading-lite. Still, if you?re eager to strengthen your business in a relatively easy way, Field Tested is a book you?ll salute.??? ?

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn?
Author: Cathy N. Davidson
Narrated by Laural Merlington
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: 2 CDs / 13h. 56m.

For author Cathy N. Davidson, multitasking is the way of the future. Get used to it, she says in her audiobook Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.?

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

In 2003, Davidson and others at Duke University gave iPods to 1,650 first-year students because educators were ?intrigued? by what might happen. The students were merely asked to ?dream up learning applications for this cool little white device.? Much to her delight, Davidson says, students began spontaneously crowdsourcing, a new method of learning and working that encourages collaboration. Schools that are not embracing this new method of learning, or that aren?t allowing students to learn at their own paces or according to their personal strengths, are using outdated methods of education. Furthermore, they?re not properly preparing young people for tomorrow?s business world. How will this affect your business? Get rid of old ways of working, Davidson says, and try crowdsourcing to give your employees flexibility. Look for talents instead of focusing on limits and stop allowing age to be an excuse for laziness.

Now You See It is meant to be ?a field guide and a survival manual for the digital age? and Davidson hits that target square. She uses anecdotes and statistics to back up her ideas, offering lots of usable information, and engages readers with wit and appropriate factlets. The problem is, this is a long audiobook to tackle. If you miss one sentence, you?ve missed a lot. Because you?ll naturally be multitasking while listening, what you hear may sometimes feel repetitive and redundant. Overall, though, if you?re in business, you cannot afford to ignore such important information.