Unum Plays Their Part and Then Some

Wreaths Across America could not remember, honor, and teach about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s military without support from corporate donors. Many of those companies similarly believe that supporting veterans is a daily mindset, not just a one-day special event. Unum Group out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one such company. Unum goes above and beyond when it comes to hiring veterans and ensuring their success in the civilian workforce when they separate from the military.

Pipan Wilson is a veteran of the United State Air Force. She served through Operation Desert Storm and her last assignment was in Turkey as part of Operation Provide Comfort. Now, Pipan leads the charge for Unum with their Veterans Employee Resource Group.

“Based on my research, I noticed the average military member that separates and comes into the civilian sector leaves their job within the first two years,“ Pipan explains. “Unum created an onboarding program that provides a similar structure they’re used to in the military. When they’re hired, they’re given a sponsor for the first three months from a member of the same military branch, and close to the same rank. The whole responsibility of that sponsor is to acclimate the new veteran employee into civilian life and create that camaraderie and buddy system for them to vent and share their frustrations. After those three months, they get a mentor who helps them climb the corporate ladder and develop their career.” 

Pipan tells us she’s impressed by Unum’s commitment to military veterans. Unum extends job transition training to veterans in the community regardless of whether or not they become an employee of the company. They’re dedicated to improving the success rate among those veterans transitioning back to civilian life. “We help veterans better understand what the employer is looking for and how their skills and experiences in the military can fit those needs. We help them with the interview process because, in the military, we tend to use a lot of acronyms and jargon a civilian employer would not understand.” 

In addition to their robust support of their employees and others in the communities they serve who are military veterans, Unum has provided financial support to Wreaths Across America according to Rachel Hargis, Unum Community Relations Specialist. “Our employees also get involved with wreath-laying ceremonies in Chattanooga and Portland, Maine. This year, the Portland location is very excited to be hosting a stop for the annual wreath escort to Arlington National Cemetery in December.” 

Unum employees have been participating in the mission to remember, honor, and teach since 2013. ”People like to go out and do this. It gives them a chance to learn about their cemeteries, who’s buried there and what their contribution was to this country. We’ve gotten very positive feedback from our employees and other partners we’ve involved.” 

Thank you, Unum, for playing your part to be sure no hometown hero is ever forgotten as we work together toward National Wreaths Across America Day, 2019 and beyond.