Around one sixth of our Armed Forces are made up of reservists – people who give up their spare time to train and are ready to mobilize whenever a situation arises. Reservist units are central to protecting our nation’s security both at home and abroad, strengthening our forces in specialist technical areas like medicine, engineering, and cyber security. These individuals also bring huge value to the organizations they’re employed by, and the business world must engage more openly with them if they’re to unlock their full potential.
This is something that we’re actively involved with at Experis, employing individuals like Emily Griffiths, who balances her role with us as an engineering account manager with her role as a proud reservist in the 39th Signal Regiment. Employers who follow suit will benefit from having employees on their books with a huge variety of transferable skills, and individuals who can learn from their experiences and apply themselves better to their full-time work.
Applying experience in the field to an office environment
For instance, individuals who embark on a second career with the Reserves know that any plans and training they’re tasked with giving in their full-time role must be consistent and effective. This is in case they are incapacitated for any reason, with someone else having to pick up exactly where they left off – this approach is necessary on the battlefield, but is equally useful the day before an important client meeting. The method of preparation is the same, even if the application is slightly different.
On a more practical level, responsibilities assumed in the forces, such as briefing troops or delivering training, can help Reservists gain confidence to speak authoritatively to business stakeholders and encourages them to develop their own leadership style in their professional role.
How employers can get involved
Most people tend to think of being in the reserves as a hobby, but the amount of time that these individuals must invest in it makes it closer to a second career. The biggest support that an employer can, therefore, give a reservist is flexibility. Provide extended leave for them to carry out their training, and allow them to make adjustments to their time off at very short notice to help them respond to assignments. We give our Reservists at Experis an extra 10 days of annual leave per year, actively support anyone’s decision to join the Reserves and encourage all staff to take a genuine interest in what they do.
More companies in every sector need to pick up this mantle and sign the Armed Forces Covenant to inspire their workforce to get involved with the reservists. Regardless of whether individuals are commissioned officers, in the soldier ranks, ex-servicemen or reservists, the Army instils the values of good people management, punctuality, a desire to learn, the ability to take criticism and to strive to better yourself; all fantastic qualities and attributes that will serve any employee well in the workplace.