Why military veterans make great finance team members

From CFO Daily News: Hiring military veterans for your finance team and your workplace as a whole can give you a major competitive advantage.

Vets bring some unique and important traits that can benefit American businesses. Now more than ever.

Veterans are no strangers to uncertainty and volatility. Which sounds an awful lot like the business conditions we’re in now.

Even better: They can understand the ultimate goal, then pivot where necessary and tackle setbacks, while never compromising the larger mission.

This case was recently made by Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, a veteran himself. He spoke to more than 1,000 attendees last fall at Financial Executives International’s Corporate Financial Reporting Insights 2020 Virtual Conference.

Breaking stereotypes about veterans

You may have to work to disavow some folks of long-held stereotypes about veterans. How many of these have you heard?

Veterans are …

  • rigid
  • hierarchical, and
  • resistant to change.

But in reality, asserts Gorsky, they are:

  • team-focused
  • accountable, and
  • agents of change.

Vets also have a tremendous capacity to learn. In the military they’re always training on something new.

Setting veterans up for success

All that makes a solid case for hiring veterans for your team. So how do you make them feel a welcome part?

Gorsky recommends three steps to help them transition from military to corporate worlds:

  1. Offer structured training from the start. Military folks have a huge capacity to learn, but they’re used to formalized training.
  2. Draw them out in meetings. In the military, meetings are for listening to the officer. Help them get talking and participating.
  3. Make ‘em part of the team fast. Vets thrive at being part of a team. The sooner you give them a role, the faster they’ll be their best.

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