Why the Payments Industry Needs to Hire More Veterans

Why the Payments Industry Needs to Hire More Veterans

Why the Payments Industry Needs to Hire More Veterans

Jackie Purdy

Jackie Purdy

Jackie Purdy is senior vice president for risk and compliance at TSYS. She reports directly to the Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining TSYS, Jackie led the talent and organizational excellence team at USAA.

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Since 2012, when the drawdowns from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars ended, there has been national discussion around finding gainful employment for veterans. Unfortunately, you often hear that "hiring veterans is our patriotic duty," instead of "hiring veterans makes good business sense."

But in the payments industry, that's exactly what leaders should be considering. Companies across any industry, including payments, that hire servicemen and women recognize the value and contribution that veterans bring to the table. 

Here's why there is much to be gained when companies – in the payments industry specifically – hire veterans.

Lead the way

The first thing people tend to mention when talking about hiring veterans is their tremendous leadership skills. Regardless of their rank, military people are taught from day one that they are expected to lead. The U.S. Army defines leadership as "the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization." Leadership is a skill inherent in all veterans.

Although leadership is an impressive talent, it’s not the only soft skill that most veterans possess and can offer to the payments industry. As quickly as things change in payments, employees who have great learning agility, can communicate effectively and are innovative and tech savvy, can give a company considerable value and advantages.

Technical or 'hard' skills are often overlooked in the payments industry when it comes to hiring veterans because of the perception that there isn't a similar occupation in the military.

Adapt or fail

While on active duty, military personnel are expected to relocate to a new job in a different town, state or country every two to three years. This doesn't include the odd deployment to a foreign country where they may operate new equipment, learn different processes or work with teammates who speak another language.

Often, servicemen and women are thrown into roles without prior training or experience and are expected to learn 'on the fly,' trust their teammates and successfully execute. They are often asked to deliver without having the right tools or equipment in place and must innovate and create solutions in order to succeed. If they are not able to learn, communicate, collaborate or innovate, it could be the difference between the success or failure of a mission. And that’s a resourcefulness that can serve any employer, let alone one in the financial services industry where changes rapidly unfold on a daily basis.

Equivalent occupations

Technical or 'hard' skills are often overlooked in the payments industry when it comes to hiring veterans because of the perception that there isn't a similar occupation in the military. On the other hand, veterans aren't familiar with the civilian roles available in the industry that they may be fully trained or qualified to fill. 

For example — cybersecurity, network operations, business continuity, disaster recovery, strategic planning, risk and compliance management — are all highly desirable and sought-after disciplines in payments. So are human resources, facilities management, supply chain logistics and government relations, to name a few more. On the flip side, each of the Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard, have equivalent roles. They also provide considerable training and meaningful experiences that make many veterans qualified for jobs in the payments space.

Team players

Because of their history of diverse roles and assignments in a variety of locations, with the underlying requirement to successfully execute and deliver, another benefit of hiring veterans into the industry is gaining 'utility' players. You can often put a veteran in a role, provide minimal direction and training, and allow them the creativity to execute and deliver. Their can-do attitude allows them to say, "no job too big, no task too small."

Their sense of cooperation and collaboration is drilled into their mindset the first day they are in uniform and leads to a willingness by veterans to step in wherever they're needed in order for the team to succeed. Their training, innate loyalty and learning agility make a veteran want to belong to a team that allows them to learn and grow.

Although some may say that hiring veterans is a patriotic act by a grateful industry, the reality is that companies gain so much more. Hiring veterans isn't just a nice thing to do. It makes good business sense. The bottom line: the payments industry needs more veterans.

The statements and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of TSYS.

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Jackie Purdy

Jackie Purdy is senior vice president for risk and compliance at TSYS, reporting directly to the Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining TSYS, Jackie led the talent and organizational excellence team at USAA. Before that, she spent 10 years at Bank of America in multiple leadership roles. She began her career in the United States Air Force, where she served 12 years active duty and eight years in the Reserves.

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