A few years back IBM conducted interviews with 1,709 CEOs from all around the world and published the results in the paper “Leading Through Connections.” In one of the sections of this near-70-page long study, CEOs talk about the “future-proof employee,” which is the essentially the ideal employee CEOs want to hire.
According to the many CEOs interviewed, the ideal employees always tend to share the same handful of characteristics. As mentioned in the study, “across industries and geographies, CEOs consistently highlight four personal characteristics most critical for employees’ future success: being collaborative, communicative, creative and flexible.”
The interesting thing is that veterans possess all of these characteristics, but especially three out of the four. If you stop and think about what an important, difficult job they are tasked with, and what kinds of skills and traits they must develop in order to do that job, you realize that veterans inherently must possess these CEO-wanted characteristics.
1 Veterans are collaborative
If you’ve forgotten what “collaborative” means, Google will immediately tell you the definition is “produced or conducted by two or more parties working together.”
Veterans have to work with other people all of the time. The smallest military organization unit is a fireteam, which is composed of 3-4 people, while the largest military organization unit, a region, or theater, is composed of 640,000+ people. Naturally, therefore, veterans will most definitely have experience with working with others in order to accomplish objectives. Veterans rely on fellow service members for survival and spend years training with thousands of other recruits, so they have had ample time to develop a wealth of collaborative experience.
Rank, and knowing one’s rank, is also a fundamental part of the military and veterans will undoubtedly be respectful to company executives and higher-ups as well as fellow employees.
The U.S. military also conditions members of the military to be stellar team leaders as well as team players, so veterans are used to accomplishing tasks with minimal guidance or direction from others and showing initiative.
2 Veterans are communicative
Veterans have survived the heat, danger, and pressure of battle, and they would probably not have been able to do so if they were not proficient at quick, clear, and efficient communication. Veterans are also going to be trustworthy because of the “when you lie people die” ideology that has been instilled in them during their time with the military. In the military lying is a huge deal and recruits are taught from the beginning to take full responsibility for their actions. This leads to most veterans preferring to suffer the consequences of being wrong rather than the consequences of lying and getting caught. This is going to be an incredible asset in large corporations, where communication is already fraught with difficulties and the truth imperative for company leaders to know.
3 Veterans are flexible
Fighting in a war, flying out to foreign enemy territory, being away from your loved ones and what you know of society, these are probably some of the hardest situations life can throw at you and veterans experienced them all of the time while they were in the military. War is always unpredictable. Mission circumstances or objectives can change in a heartbeat and veterans are used to these challenges. In the military you have to solve problems every day. Veterans have honed their problem-solving skills and creative thinking so that they can come up with different ways of overcoming an obstacle.
Moreover, most military members move around very frequently – approximately once every 2-4 years, and they can be relocated all over the country, or even to different countries and continents. This experience exposes them to many diverse experiences and forces them to adapt, and become used to change.
Veterans are clearly the kinds of future-proof employees that CEOs desire and need. Who else has years of experience of effective collaboration, communication, and of being flexible? Regardless of what kind of job you are hiring for, veterans will be able to optimize your company’s path to reaching its goals in some way. In the military, the mission always, always comes first. If you hire a veteran, the success of your company will be their new mission, and their accumulated skill and experience will make whatever goals you set them a reality.
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Code Platoon is an immersive, beginner-friendly coding boot camp located in the heart of Chicago. Code Platoon offers to cover 80% of tuition costs if you are a veteran or a military spouse, so the total out-of-pocket cost is $2,500. Code Platoon provides instant leads internships, interview preparation, job counseling, employer matching. Join us today by signing up at codeplatoon.org/apply.