4 Skills Veterans Bring to Businesses

Zions Bankers share military skills that help them succeed in their civilian jobs.

Ramon Ruiz Jul 22, 2020

Businesses and organizations everywhere recognize that U.S. veterans are valuable assets to their teams, strengthening company goals and contributing to success.

According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board Corporate Leadership Counsel, veterans are less likely to turnover (16% vs. 13% turnover), impacting a company’s performance and revenue. Many skills fostered in the military make veterans uniquely qualified for positions within civilian sectors.

Military training programs sharpen competencies and personal growth, enabling veterans to complete their assigned missions — useful in the military and later in their civilian jobs.

We asked three Zions Bancorporation employees who served in the military what tools they use that make them valuable employees. Here’s what they said.

Veteran Business Skill #1: Mission-First Mindset

If managers want a mature professional with a strong work ethic, a military veteran should be seriously considered. Veterans like blogger and U.S. Army veteran Luke Ryan forge their work ethic and mission-first mindset through the fires of training and a rigorous lifestyle. This work ethic can be ruthless, and civilians sometimes cannot understand it. Ultimately it makes not only the veteran stand out, it supports the team as a whole and helps ensure that the job gets done.

Veteran Business Skill #2: Team Mentality

A crucial part of the military experience is the camaraderie that is built within a unit. Veterans spend years relying on the people to their left and their right to stay safe and complete their assigned missions. Veterans understand that real teamwork grows from a sense of responsibility to their fellow colleagues, even those who come from different backgrounds.

Army National Guard veteran and current data warehouse modeler Eric McGregor applies the team mentality from the military to his role. “The military gave me certain tools, especially the ability to work as part of a team,” he says. “It is critical to get along well with others of diverse backgrounds.”

Eric McGregor
Eric McGregor

Veteran Business Skill #3: Attention to Detail

Dan Palfreyman
Dan Palfreyman

During their service, veterans may have been given several tasks — all critical to the big-picture mission of their unit. Veterans understand just how important it is that the job not only gets done, but gets done right. They know that missing one detail could mean the complete failure of a mission, or worse — the life of a fellow serviceman. This creates a sense of accountability and attention to detail that corporate leader can count on, even in stressful situations.

“Reliability, attention to detail and accountability are vital in my position,” says U.S. Army veteran and current Operations Regulatory Support Specialist, Dan Palfreyman. “The Army has helped me to be able to handle stressful situations and adjust my attention with very few interruptions.”

Veteran Business Skill #4: Adaptability

Trained with skills to adapt and overcome, veterans can modify work methods and priorities in response to changing information, altered conditions and unexpected obstacles. During their service, they must learn and process new information quickly and be able to act as strategically as possible. Veterans must also be able adapt to the changing working environments which can be chaotic one second, then calm and collected the next.

U.S. Army veteran and current Enterprise Loan Operations flood specialist team leader Jacob Cathey has honed his ability to adapt and has made a successful transition from the chaotic environment of the battlefields into an office setting.

“This job is the complete opposite of my military job,” he says. “This is my first office job ever. I went from patrolling the streets of Baghdad to sitting in an office environment, looking at numbers all day.”

Many corporate leaders view veterans as stand-out employees in their organization, people with skills worth investing in. 

If you are a veteran looking for career opportunities, we invite you to learn more by emailing

U.S. Army veteran Jacob Cathey, 1999.
U.S. Army veteran Jacob Cathey, 1999.

Ramon Ruiz is a summer intern in Zions Bank’s Marketing Department and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He will be graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in strategic communication in December 2020.

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