Saluting and Supporting Veterans in the Workplace

Nov  08 
Brenda Waggoner  Senior Writer, Fiserv 

The important role businesses play in helping veterans and their families transition from active military life

Honoring veterans means supporting them, too. Engaging, recruiting and championing those who served is the next important step.

In a recent conversation, Misty Fox, director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business at the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), discussed the outsized role businesses play in helping veterans transition from active military life.

IVMF is the first academic institute solely focused on the advancement of the post-service lives of military-connected individuals and their families. Fiserv recently announced a $7 million extension of its long-standing partnership with IVMF to help fund veteran and military spouse entrepreneurship programs and initiatives.

Fox was joined by Meg Hendricks, senior director of corporate citizenship and head of military and veteran affairs for Fiserv. Hendricks outlined the company's efforts to help veterans, including its support for Veteran's Small Business Week.

"Hiring qualified veterans and supporting veteran entrepreneurs isn't just the right thing to do," Hendricks said. "It can also be good for business because skills and experiences gained during service can be brought to the corporate world to enhance bottom-line outcomes."

But hiring veterans is just the beginning.

"IVMF is changing the paradigm for how corporate America works with veterans," Fox said. "Our holistic view goes beyond recruitment and employment to getting more veteran-owned businesses into the supply chain and making other changes, such as payment terms." 

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than nonveterans, according to the Small Business Administration. Fox said many veterans see entrepreneurship as a way to use the skills they've learned in the military, including teamwork, mental toughness, perseverance and a strong work ethic, to create their own work environment.

Those skills make great entrepreneurs and great employees.

"When you hire a veteran, understand what they're bringing to the table," Hendricks said. "Veterans lead from the front and create a lot of positive changes in corporations. Give them an entryway where they can find their niche."