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Best Buy recognized for support of military employees

Best Buy was recently recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Defense for benefits and assistance available to military employees with the Above and Beyond Award.

In addition, multiple leaders across the company have received Patriot Awards for their personal support of an employee serving in the National Guard.

The Best Buy Military Employee Resource Group (ERG) leadership team accepted the Above and Beyond award on behalf of the company at the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 30.

“We are genuinely honored to receive this award,” said ERG chair Nikki Kukla. “We have over 3,000 military employees at Best Buy who make a difference each day for our customers, like they did in service for our country, and it’s important we show them our support any way we can.” 

Empathetic leaders in action

It’s the day-to-day interactions that make a difference to ensure employees feel cared about and supported.  

A few months ago, Geek Squad manager Jeff Reinert was going through tremendous change in his life. He was preparing to go on a monthlong leave for National Guard training and in the process of interviewing for a new position within Best Buy.

Then, he received an urgent call from his sister asking him to help her move back home to Pennsylvania from across the country.

“It all just happened at once,” he said.

Jeff worked with his current and hiring managers, Chris Ciraula and Ted Minda, to schedule interviews and shadowing opportunities around his schedule. After returning from helping his sister move, Jeff completed his last interview and was offered the job as Geek Squad Manager at Store 589 in Northeast Philadelphia later that day. He spent the next three days doing a deep dive with his team and getting to know his new role before leaving for National Guard training.

“In the moment, it felt like their support was extraordinary,” he said. “Between Ted and Chris, they continued to mentor me and push me forward.”

Jeff nominated both Chris and Ted for a Patriot Award, and both received the award from the U.S. Department of Defense.

“I wanted to recognize them and show people that there are good things happening within the company” Jeff said. “They really bring out the human side of Best Buy.”

Culture of support

Jeff’s is one of many stories throughout Best Buy where military employees have felt empathy and support from their teams — not just when called to duty, but for every time they need to put themselves or their families first.

Military and veteran employees can also find support through benefits and resources at Best Buy.

The Military ERG is a space for employees to find community based on shared experiences serving or supporting loved ones in the military. The group hosts listening sessions for members and brings feedback to the company on ways to make the military or veteran employee experience better.

Some of that feedback led to a comprehensive guide for recruiters to understand military vocabulary, ranks and skills to apply them to related jobs at Best Buy.

The company provides a military leave of absence and leave guide for managers and employees to lead them through the process. All employees also have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can connect military employees to counselors and resources for their mental health.

Whether it’s through building connections in employee resource groups or taking advantage of company benefits, Nikki said it’s important that current and former military employees feel like someone cares about them and is invested in their well-being.

“We want to maintain a culture that allows all employees to grow and succeed in their career,” Nikki said.