Comcast NBCUniversal commits to nurturing military spouses’ careers through partnerships and dedicated programs to accommodate the military culture
Many companies actively seek to hire veterans and throw support behind the active military. It hasn’t been until the past few years, however, that military spouses are recognized as exemplary employees and companies have been taking tangible steps to recruit this demographic.
Serving 28.3 million Americans each day, Comcast NBCUniversal is one of those companies that takes action in hiring military spouses and service members. In 2015, the company created a Military and Veteran Affairs division, headed by Vice President Carol Eggert, Brigadier General (Ret.), U.S. Army. At that time, the company committed to hiring 10,000 Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses by the end of 2017.
Its initiatives are so encompassing that Comcast NBCUniversal earned the No. 1 designation in this year’s Military Spouse Friendly Employers list.
Comcast NBCUniversal has been a long-standing partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, as well as teaming with the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership. The company regularly participates in job fairs around the country and online. Outreach programs geared toward the military spouse community include internships, apprenticeships, managerial training programs and networking events.
Referrals also yield big results. Michael Cox, SVP, Talent Acquisition for Comcast, recently announced an enhanced employee referral program intended specifically for the military community, including military spouses. Any employee who refers a military spouse as a candidate that is ultimately hired will be awarded a referral bonus double the amount of the regular referral. Although the referral program already is strong, Eggert anticipates the volume of referrals to increase significantly with the added financial backing.
Talent acquisition and recruiting specialists have resources at their hands, including a Military Readiness Resource eBook and a partnership with PsychArmor, which provides training videos and materials for recruiters and hiring managers.
Once a military spouse employee is on board, Comcast NBCUniversal offers:
- A dedicated human resources concierge to help service members, spouses and their families during deployments and other duty-related events that may impact the family unit.
- The option to shift to part-time employment while a spouse is deployed.
- A dedicated VetNet Employee Resource Group that pools more than 5,000 employees with ties to the military community to create a dynamic resource group to provide onboarding help, mentorship, sponsorship programs and events focused on growing the professional and personal development of military spouses, veterans and Guard and Reserve employees.
Embrace the workforce
“[Investing in the military spouse market] means creating a path to build a career with Comcast NBCUniversal since we cover such a wide career field with media, entertainment and technology,” Eggert says. “The military spouse market has a key strength that many others don’t – flexibility – as a result of the fast-paced world of the military that requires constantly changing locations and job situations. That’s perfect for us as an organization that is on the cutting edge of a rapidly changing sector. We know the military spouse community has a talent pool that can adapt to any number of new work environments and instantly thrive.
“The philosophy across the Comcast NBCUniversal family is to develop, retain and embrace a workforce that reflects the communities we serve,” she continues. “With opportunities across so many specialized fields – technology, entertainment, news, sports, cable and more – military spouses benefit from workforce initiatives across the company that ensure our programs and the careers of those who lead them are structured to yield long-term success.”
Continuous career path
One of the key hindrances to fluid career paths for military spouses is frequent relocation. Comcast NBCUniversal alleviates this concern for military spouses. “We make every effort to connect them with a Comcast NBCUniversal job if their next location is in the footprint of our business,” Eggert says. “If they are moving to a location outside of our footprint, we work with them to find employment at that location, which includes reaching out to companies we work with in the MSEP program to discuss available options at other military spouse-friendly organizations. And, if all else fails, we provide a generous transition assistance package. We understand many of our military spouses will one day be back in a location within our footprint, and we want to make sure they come back to us when that day comes.”
Hiring 10,000 spouses, veterans and Guard and Reserve members is just the beginning of Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment. “The energy behind that effort will continue into the future,” Eggert says. “Everyone in this community has served and sacrificed for our country in a unique manner. For spouses, our way of recognizing that sacrifice is using our offices nationwide to provide them opportunities to continue to advance and accelerate in their own careers while their spouse serves our country.”
In Her Own Words
Pittsburgh; with Comcast 1 year, 3 months; Position: Business Account Executive 3, SMB Direct Sales
When she and her Army husband were PCSing from Fort Bragg, Nicola Batts applied for a position with Comcast NBCUniversal. Although she didn’t know the company was military friendly, during her travels to Pittsburgh for the interview process it came up quickly and she recollects how understanding Comcast was throughout the interview and hiring process. “Both of the managers I interviewed with were veterans,” she says, “so it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders from the first time I met them that they understood what I was in the middle of.”
As a senior account executive, Batts travels to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them determine what kinds of phone and internet systems will best support their business. Because of the technological nature of the role, training is ongoing. Comcast puts “a lot of effort into training us and keeping us sharp on our products,” Batts says. “I really enjoy the challenge of a sales job and feel it’s complementary to our lifestyle. As long as you put in the work and you aren’t too far in the middle of nowhere (tall order for some of us, I know) you can usually keep your career going.”
Batts’ husband is with the Pittsburgh Corps of Engineers and, although she misses the proximity to the military community at large, Comcast has stepped into that vital role. “Comcast has a Veterans Network employee resource group that provides camaraderie among those from the military community,” she says. “They support our local veterans and I am really excited to volunteer as an event coordinator with that group. It’s like my Family Readiness Group away from home.”
Comcast’s culture also encourages complete openness. “In other jobs I’ve felt like I had to keep a pending move or deployment a secret, or even had to hide the fact I’m married to a soldier in an interview,” she says. “It’s not like that here at all. I feel very supported; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Having a career with a company like this is kind of like a dream for me as a military spouse. Having something to call my own has been so important to me. It means more than I can say to know that Comcast understands I won’t be able to stay in this location forever, but they still appreciate what I have to give while I’m here and, most importantly, is willing to work with me on continuing my career with them in another location.”
Her favorite part of Comcast? “The fact that they put the customer first,” she says. “I’m a ‘helper’ by nature and it means a lot to me to do something positive for the people I interact with every day.
“I truly love being a military spouse,” Batts continues. “It comes with a great deal of honor for me, but having something to call my own gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It’s important for me to have something that is separate from my husband’s career because it provides continuity and certainty.”
In Her Own Words
Tigard, Ore.; with Comcast 1 year, 9 months; Position: Manager 1, Project Management, Comcast Cable
Three years ago, my husband and I transitioned from Active Duty Army in Texas to an Army Reserve Unit in Washington. It was a difficult and uncertain transition for our family. During my first interview at Comcast, a manager noticed my military history on my resume and instead of diving into the prescribed set of questions, he started telling old Army stories. He asked what unit we were in, and if I knew so-and-so. Those stories eventually transitioned to what benefits military members and their families receive at Comcast, which delightfully seemed endless. Not only do I receive paid time off for my own training, but Comcast is flexible with my schedule to accommodate my husband’s training. There is a vested interest in what you and your family do. Any military member, or spouse of a military member, will tell you the military is a tight-knit community. At Comcast, it’s as if our military family followed us because we formed instant bonds within the Comcast family due to our service. It’s truly unique and gratifying to know there is a company that understands the hardships and highlights, along with the achievements of military members and their spouses.