Published in the September/October 2011 issue of print Search & Employ® |
It’s certainly hard to miss The Home Depot. As the fourth largest retailer in the U.S., and the fifth largest in the world, it seems like there’s a store on almost on every corner. It’s hard to believe the company wasn’t founded until 1978, especially since there are more than 2,240 retail stores in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Canada, Mexico and China. The company employs more than 300,000 associates.
Thomas Pugh, a store manager with The Home Depot, joined the company 11 years ago as a sales associate in the flooring department. He then progressed to department supervisor, operations assistant manager, and specialty assistant manager before becoming store manager. Pugh served in the Army for 24 years as an infantry officer and aviator with two combat tours in Vietnam, retiring as a colonel.
He knows that it takes the right person to work with customers in The Home Depot stores. “Depending on an individual store’s needs, we expect to fill customer-facing positions,” Pugh said. “It’s important to have a good, diverse balance of new talent and seasoned professionals in the organization.”
Veterans are often a perfect fit for those positions. “We find that customers want associates who are respectful, knowledgeable, hard-working and solution-oriented, and our military associates exemplify that,” Pugh said. “Our experience has been that associates with military experience typically have these skills and attributes. Veterans have the advantage of having been involved in leadership and team building in a highly disciplined environment. They develop skills in training and coaching, motivating and setting performance goals based on team accomplishment, communicating priorities, developing an action plan, and driving execution.”
The Home Depot makes sure that veterans feel at home when working there. “The military is personal to The Home Depot when you consider that we currently have more than 1,700 associates on military leaves of absence,” Pugh said. “In fact, The Home Depot is recognized as one of the top ten military employers by the Department of Defense.”
The Home Depot understands that members of the U.S. military community are highly skilled, motivated and hard working. In an effort to support this community, The Home Depot joined forces in 2004 with the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs to provide rewarding and challenging career opportunities in its stores and distribution centers across the nation for current and former members of America’s military.
The Home Depot has hired more than 60,000 veterans since 2004. The company offers a work environment that values the skills learned through military service, while providing the flexibility needed by those who serve in the National Guard, reserves or who are military spouses. Plus, The Home Depot’s network of stores and distribution centers throughout the country provides the opportunity for their military associates to transfer in cases of reassignment of duty stations, retirement or separation, depending on store and job availability.
The company also launched Project Homefront in 2003, a national program to help military families with home repair while a family member served in the war with Iraq. They invested $1 million and one million hours of volunteer service in support of the families of those serving on active duty.