More bosses back our armed forces

June 3, 2016

An important milestone is about to be smashed.

No, not the first British cricketer to score 10,000 test match runs (well done Alistair Cooke) or a record haul of gold medals for team GB in the up coming Olympics (although we do hope) but almost as momentous.

Because any moment now, the number of employers who have publicly declared their commitment to back Britain’s Armed Forces by signing the Armed Forces Covenant is set to reach 1,000.

It’s great news and a signpost that support from public and private sector organisations and charities is getting stronger all the time, according to the latest count from Defence Relationship Management, the organisation building employer engagement with Defence.

Signing the covenant means a lot more than just having a certificate on the wall in the boss’s office. It shows a determination to make a difference, by making meaningful pledges, from offering tailored discounts, to providing employment or work experience opportunities for those leaving the services.

Or support can mean encouraging staff to think about signing up as reservists, and introducing policies that will make life easier for them when they do.

So why is support increasing?

Yes it’s good PR… and there’s nothing wrong with showing you are proud to support those who serve to keep us safe and prosperous. But organisations that have signed up know that it makes good business sense too. They have realised they can tap into a unique talent pool that brings hard to find and highly prized skills and attitudes into the workplace. Good news travels fast and others are waking up to the fact that they might be missing out and are reaching for their pens.

The word is spreading through employers’ communications, events and forums and through trade bodies.

Only last week the business support charity, Business in the Community, blogged to encourage more businesses to adopt Armed Forces friendly recruitment practices to attract service leavers.

When business leaders BT and Jaguar Land Rover introduced this approach they reaped the rewards right away, and haven’t looked back since.

Commenting on the value of hiring veterans, Rob Lummis, Head of Employee Experiences at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “It’s common sense, and there’s a clear fit.  So many of the attributes and skills gained in the military are sought after in Jaguar Land Rover– discipline, determination and to stay calm under pressure.”

The more employers understand the benefits of military skills in the workplace, the more engaged they will be.  We now look forward to celebrating the 1000th employer who demonstrates their commitment by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

Published: June 2016

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