Human Interest, People Culture

The Strengths and Transferable Skills of Veterans for Civilian Roles and Leadership

September 7, 2023
employment for veterans

Mercury's Commitment to Veteran Employment

Written By: Jasmine Martirossian

At Mercury, 12% of our US team members are veterans who have served honorably in the US Armed Forces. This remarkable representation of veterans in a civilian organization is twice the US national average, according to the US Department of Labor, where veterans represent 5.6% of the civilian workforce.[i]

Veterans hold various roles at Mercury, from Client Support Guides to Executive Leadership. We are profoundly grateful to veterans for their selfless service. Integrating them into civilian workforces is also a strategic move for any organization, as veterans possess numerous well-honed transferable skills

Jobs for veterans

Here are the highlights and benefits of the veterans’ transferable skills:

Teamwork – The challenges veterans face during their service are only overcome through teamwork. This required close collaboration builds camaraderie, a vital skill that veterans bring to our organization. After all, 'World-Class Teamwork' is one of Mercury's core values that we live every day. It is intrinsic to the military and stands as one of the most important soft skills veterans can contribute to an organization.

Bias for Action – Armed services emphasize getting things done. Making excuses is not part of their modus operandi. This mindset and practical approach foster a transition from planning to action. Even the best strategies are worthless if not implemented. Therefore, any organization can greatly benefit from a bias for action.

Discipline – "Mission critical" is a fundamental mindset for veterans, necessitating a high degree of discipline in various aspects of their daily lives, including situational observations, punctuality, and even morning routines like making their beds. The net result of this discipline is the ability to focus on quality, safety, and relevant details, all of which are valuable in a civilian corporate environment.

Veterans are true self-starters, proficient at analyzing and resolving challenging problems without constant guidance from supervisors.

Veterans excel in collaboration and teamwork due to the demands of their duty, often working together under duress.

Accountability  This is a key facet of the military – people have clarity on accountability, knowing when to step up. Veterans are accustomed to taking ownership of their actions. The military expects individuals to be accountable and take responsibility for their actions, decision-making, and behavior. This also requires modeling behavior and leading by example, providing carefully considered directions, and continually maintaining morale and motivating the team.

This type of accountability and sense of ownership is increasingly hard for civilian organizations to find in a marketplace where job hopping has become commonplace. There’s no such thing as job-hopping in the military. When you enlist, you make a commitment and have to deliver on it for a certain length of time. There’s no washing your hands and walking away if issues become uncomfortable or if the unexpected happens.

Adaptability – Similar to business, military campaigns demand extensive planning. The military places a significant emphasis on the ability to adjust to sudden changes in direction and respond to constantly shifting conditions. Nowhere is adaptability more crucial than in the military, where soldiers have limited options but to remain flexible.

This flexibility to "adjust and adapt" is highly valued in today's business world, where managing ambiguity is a prized skill. Considering the rapid pace of modern life, any civilian organization, ranging from start-ups to blue-chip conglomerates, can reap the benefits of adaptability.

Organizational Skills – All aspects of the military require thorough planning and workload management, involving carefully considered objectives, assessments of strengths and weaknesses, considerations of people, resource availability or limitations, schedules, logistics, and other factors that come into play. Veterans can be great organizers, with a keen sense of how policies and procedures enable a business to thrive.

Leadership – Duty, honor, and responsibility are critical aspects of leadership in the military, and these are fully transferable to leadership roles in civilian organizations. Veterans lead by example and through motivation, direction, delegation, and, last but not least, inspiration. They effectively manage their staff and motivate people to achieve results, even in the most complex circumstances.

So, you see, veterans possess transferable skills indispensable to modern organizations. At Mercury, we greatly benefit from and value the talent and contributions of veterans, and we always celebrate and thank them for their service!


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