Meet the #1 Military Friendly Company of 2017

Sustainable and Scalable

The Military Friendly® Companies program is predicated on the values and ideas upon which the Military Friendly® program was founded more than a decade ago: that veterans are better off for having served, and that they and the entire military community are worthy of meaningful business investment.

In prior years, this survey was delivered in separate installments, reviewing corporate practices related to veteran and spouse employment, as well as programs developed to support veteran-owned businesses as part of their supplier network. The Military Friendly® Companies survey provides a single interface for organizations to provide inputs that are evaluated both in separate designations, such as the Military Friendly® Employers designation, along with a complete rollup score for top-performing Military Friendly® Companies that interact and support the military community across employment, retention, community service, historical investment and even consumer initiatives and supports.

Developing comprehensive military and veteran programs, as opposed to seasonal initiatives, requires a level of coordination that is only possible through executive sponsorship. Additionally, the Military Friendly® Companies survey is designed to identify organizations that not only consistently go beyond compliance requirements, but who do so year over year. Since the Military Friendly® program benchmark surveys based on the leading institutions, organizations are incented to continue to extend their efforts year over year. The result is an exclusive group of companies that are thinking not merely about their own companies, but their entire industry, and how they can leverage their stature and influence to improve support for the military community across their vast supplier and customer networks.

My discussion with Hilton illustrated the larger vision we hypothesized would exist among our leading organizations, that they are building integrated efforts that are built to last for decades, and that extend across their entire sphere of influence. Hilton’s customer-focused culture and historical footing provided fertile ground for this type of long-term systems thinking, and is reflected across our 2017 list of Military Friendly® Companies.

“People don’t realize the wide variety of opportunities we have in the hospitality industry and the growth potential. We are a 24-7 business with non-traditional schedules. Very similar to the military’s on-the-job training culture and we don’t require degrees for our operations positions, so we don’t have the same kinds of barriers that other industries have,” Bacon said.

The results speak for themselves: veteran and military spouse employees who stay with Hilton, and sometimes the same hotel, for 10, 15, 20 even 50 years. In 2017 we introduced veteran employee surveys, which suggest that even more than employment, a company’s total military and veteran community commitment drive veteran employee satisfaction.

As Sterling explained, “We become a second family. You have the ability to transfer around if you want, but a lot of people stay with the same hotel. You could have a whole career going from property to property within a city or around the world. You can write your own story. No path is the same. We know not every veteran is going to stay forever and that’s OK, too.” With programs that span from military discount programs to the delivery of surplus furniture to veterans and military families, and a military spouse work-from-home program in 29 states, the Hilton scope of opportunity is extensive — delivering growth opportunities, flexibility and career opportunity, along with sustained and meaningful investment.

If you are currently serving on active duty, in the National Guard or reserve, if you are a military veteran, or a military spouse, you and your families are better off for having served. If you are seeking your next mission in a career you will love with people who will help you succeed, or making simple purchasing or investment decisions, you would do well to start your search with this year’s Military Friendly® Companies, all of whom, like Hilton, are constantly improving their programs and resources to ensure your success, not only with their companies, but throughout your transition to civilian life.

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Fast Facts About Hilton

  • When in 1917, the United States of America joined the First World War, Conrad sold off his bank to join the war.
  • For two years Conrad served in the Quartermaster Corps in France and on being discharged in 1919, he went back to San Antonio. His father had died by that time and he had to take charge of his father’s businesses, which was not really doing well.
  • Moreover, having seen the world, Conrad was not interested in living in a small town like San Antonio. Therefore, he started looking for some alternative. An old friend advised him to go to Texas, where the oil boom had already started.
  • In 1919, Conrad Hilton set out for Wichita, where he tried to buy a bank and backed out when the seller raised the price at the last moment. Instead, he bought ‘Mobley Hotel’ in Cisco, Texas. It had 40 rooms and in spite of that he had to build additional rooms to cope with the demand.
  • From the beginning he believed in two principles. The first was ‘digging for gold’, which meant prudent use of space. For example, he noticed that the guests preferred to dine out and the hotel made very little money on food. Therefore, he converted the restaurant into additional guest rooms, which were in short supply.
  • His second principle was ‘esprit de corps’. It involved motivating the staff to provide excellent service and this he did by giving them credit when the guests were pleased with their stay at the hotel.


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