Checking in with our Veterans Employee Resource Group on Memorial Day.
- RingCentral’s Veterans ERG has 42 current members, representing all branches of the U.S. military
- The group provides support for veterans within RingCentral and is raising funds for the Travis Manion Foundation – to honor the fallen by supporting their families.
Memorial Day is here – a time we put aside to honor all who have died while serving in America’s armed forces, along with family and friends who have lost loved ones in military service. It’s also a good time to check in with our Veterans Employee Resource Group to get their thoughts on the holiday, and the many ways RingCentral’s veterans help strengthen our culture and community.
Account Executive Jordan Smith is one of the leaders of RingCentral’s Veterans ERG, and he thinks it’s a critical resource for vets making the transition to civilian life.
“In the military, you have a tight-knit group of people you’re around pretty much every single day. You form really important and impactful friendships with people who become lifelong friends. So when you get out of the military, you lose that support system, as well as that sense of purpose where every day you know you’re making an impact. The Veterans ERG connects us to a group of people who really understand that, and just being able to talk about shared experiences with other vets helps us reacquire that sense of purpose.”
As of December 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 552,000 veterans are currently active in the job market. Smith thinks that’s a resource RingCentral should continue to tap into.
“It starts with leadership, and the ability to be a self-starter. If you give a veteran a mission, they’re going to figure out the best way to complete it, fast. It’s been a big deal with COVID in the sense that we’re not in an office. It’s up to the individual to get out of bed in the morning, get the morning routine going and be productive. Veterans come equipped with a level of personal responsibility and adaptability that would be valuable at any time, in any company, but it’s been particularly helpful here, during COVID.
Permission to celebrate
Memorial Day is more than a Toyotathon, a mattress sale or the traditional beginning of summer. It’s a somber day of remembrance that many dedicate to service. According to Smith, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
“First off, we should remind ourselves of the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. Veterans’ Day honors all who have served. Memorial Day honors those who died serving their country. It’s a day to honor not only the people who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, but their families as well. That being said, there’s no single, monolithic position all veterans hold about it. I think people in the Veterans ERG just want the rest of the community to remind themselves of what Memorial Day means, but at the same time, these are lives worth celebrating. So if people want to enjoy the day, that’s fine. Just take a moment to realize what the day is really about…and celebrate it.”
How can RingCentral recruit more veterans? Smith thinks the company should depend more on the ones who are already here.
“We could help the company’s talent acquisition efforts because I think veterans tend to trust other veterans. It’s just easier for veterans to talk to somebody who shares that experience. If a veteran-specific team were helping the talent acquisition team, we’d be able to tell the world “Hey, we’ve got an active community of veterans here doing, all kinds of different work, and helping one another.” That’s a message I think the community would be open to and excited about.”
RingCentral’s veterans work hard to take care of their fellow soldiers, sailors, air crew and Marines. RingCentral management coordinates with them in ways that deliver maximum impact.
“Some companies just write a check and call it a day,” says Smith. “I was really impressed that management came to us and asked – “Where would our donations make the biggest impact?” That’s the kind of support every ERG wants to get.”
This Memorial Day, we’ll all spare a thought for the troops who never made it home. We’ll also relax, recharge, and rededicate ourselves to supporting the veterans community both inside and outside RingCentral. Their dedication, commitment and skills are a critical element of our culture, and one that reminds us all of what it means to be #strongertogether.
The Travis Manion Foundation empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. You can support their mission here.
Originally published May 27, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022