Ex-military employment in corporate roles

Discussion in 'Jobs (Discussion)' started by morepressupsplease, Jan 4, 2013.

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  1. I have been asked to write a paper for the senior leadership of a global bank on what benefits to the business employing ex-military will bring. Anyone got any ideas?

    Specifically areas such as:

    Commercially relevant strengths and weaknesses
    Training requirements
    Relevant transferable skills
    Ideas for how to recruit, train, employ and retain ex-military in a way that benefits the business
    Areas of banking that ex-military will be particularly suited to

    In order to capitalise on current traction, the angle will specifically be from the bank's interest, although the feeling from the top is that we should be seen to be 'doing our bit' as well.

    Because of the need for brevity and the fact I have one week to do it I am going to have to focus exclusively on regular officers, although I am happy to hear comments about other ranks and reservists.

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  2. Haven't you, seeing as you've been asked to write the article? With 500+ posts on here you must have picked up something. So, assuming this is not a wah:

    1. Depends on the regular officer, a 30 year old RLC Capt will bring a different set of skills to the party than a 55 year old Lt Col retiring from the infantry and so on....

    2. In general, regular Army officers are physically fit for their age, possess a degree of determination, willpower, practical intelligence and planning capability.

    3. Regular officers re used to working under pressure, both collaboratively and competitively. All will possess skills specific to their field (logistics, intelligence etc) and are trained to calculate risk, a key commercial requirement.

    4. At field grade and above, many regular officers will be working with finance, especially in the management of a budget and will be expected to do so successfully. An increasing number of regular officers are formally finance and management trained.

    5. Conversely, we come from a structured environment and older officers may experience a degree of disorientation and loss of control, at least initially. Retraining may also be required, especially if going into core business rather than support services

    Recruiting is perhaps best carried out by approaching those organisations which manage the resettlement of Army officers, such as the Officers Association (OA), they can match your requirements more precisely.

    Good luck....
  3. I was hoping to send this as an attachment rather than just have a massive single post, but I'm just an OR so it's far too difficult for me. This came from a recruiter on Linkedin a few months ago and may be worth your consideration for a generic skillset of service personnel (not just Officers) outside of any particular trade or branch specialisations:

    Shattering the Preconceptions – 10 Significant Qualities that Ex-Members of the UK Armed Forces Bring to Employers

    During a plenary session at the Manchester Business School we were discussing what ex-members of the Armed Forces can bring to their new employers when leaving the Services, in addition to any specific professional skills. Some people may be surprised by what servicemen and women have to offer. This list will hopefully help to overcome some stereotypes and prejudices.

    1. Selection of the Aim, and the ability to focus on it throughout without getting sidetracked. Service personnel are extremely good at cutting through the noise to the specific problem at hand. They will then remain focussed on pursuing the solution and will not allow themselves to be dragged down irrelevant cul-de-sacs. If in a leadership role, this also means that they will keep the team focussed on pursuing the solution relentlessly and take the team with them.

    2. Ability to make a decision. Servicemen and women will have spent their entire careers making decisions; indeed most will have been formally trained in a framework for decision making and in selecting optimum courses of action. They know when to make the call, and when to wait for further information. They will never suffer from “decision paralysis” and will always choose, one way or the other, at the right time and based on all the information to hand.

    3. Leadership. Almost all Service personnel are hand-picked leaders. Unless they are the most junior of ranks, they will have led a team of at least 8-10 highly motivated individuals, for years at a time, often in extreme environments. All promotions are based purely on merit, so these leaders have indeed been hand-picked. If the ex-service person was an officer, he would at the very least have led 25 people, and may well have led many more. Senior officers will have had ultimate responsibility for hundreds if not thousands of staff. Most importantly, they will have delivered true motivational leadership working directly with and alongside human beings, not merely the corralling of resources or managing from behind a desk.

    4. Strategic Viewpoint. Service personnel naturally have the ability to delve into the detail; but more importantly they know when to step back and look at the wider strategic context. If they are team leading, they will constantly be assessing their team’s positioning within the wider organisation, readjusting where necessary. They will always work towards the strategic goal.

    5. Values and Standards. Most service men and women have very high standards and personal values. Selfless commitment, teamwork, integrity, respect, courage (both physical and moral) and loyalty have defined their whole careers. They will never lose these values and will bring them to the workplace.

    6. Calmness Under Pressure. Service personnel have all been in stressful situations, either in training or, usually, on operations. They have learnt to remain calm under pressure, remaining focussed on the job in hand and continue to deliver despite the situation potentially turning against them. They will bring this calmness to your organisation.

    7. Flexibility and Adaptability. The military environment, both in peace and conflict, is constantly changing and evolving. Service men and woman have learned that flexibility and adaptability are vital in ensuring success in any endeavour; indeed, flexibility is one of the 10 Principles of War. Your ex-military staff will not forget this.

    8. Emotional Intelligence. Most ex-service personnel have highly developed emotional intelligence grown through working in high-stress situations. This might come as a surprise to some people who think that the opposite will be true, as they perceive the Forces to be strictly regimented and controlled, governed by barked orders and hierarchy. This is not true, and the ability to understand and empathise with fellow workers and stakeholders – especially in peace keeping situations – is as critical to military success as it is in business.

    9. Self-Discipline and Mental Discipline. It goes almost without saying that service personnel have notable self-discipline, honed over a number of years. They will take great pride in everything from personal turnout and bearing, to the ability to endure hardship or adversity. In short, you will be able to rely on your ex-service men and women to deliver beyond expectations. Mental discipline, a complimentary trait, adds both robustness and flexibility of mind, and includes determination. This makes your ex-service personnel formidable yet personable colleagues.

    10. Unrivalled Work Ethic. In the military, your ex-service people will have been taught to simply get the job done. Clocking on and off, “doing their hours” and other such mindsets will be completely alien to them. In Afghanistan, for example, they would have thought nothing of working 6 ½ day weeks with 18 hour days, for a full 6 months. Whilst they won’t want to do that for a full second career – no one could – the point is that when necessary they can without balking.

    There are many other qualities that ex-Service personnel could bring to your organisation – communications skills, change management ability and experience, confidence, attention to detail, tenacity and determination, proven track records of delivery, a “can do” attitude, to name but a few. Without a doubt they are all worth a look. You could do far worse than include them in the short list for your next set of interviews. When you meet them, you will be impressed.
    • Like Like x 6
  4. I judge the above post to be a very good one given the time I have spent in industry since Tranche 1.

    ...the fine line is not to be arrogant about it and to temper it down as necessary for your civilian colleagues.

    OP - PM me if you want to discuss more.

  5. IMHO, a lot of grunt34's post is wishful thinking.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. We will agree to disagree then.

    Fine upstanding member of the financial backbone that is the main industry sector of the UK by any chance?

  7. Sometimes, yes, but you'll note the OP's remark about the work being undertaken for a "global bank".....a business I know a bit about.

    I'm also a bloke who voluntarily sits on the boards of two companies founded by ex-military, employing almost exclusively long-serving ex-military (mostly SF/Int types) solely because I can help them. I'm not there for my military skills, which are long since redundant. I advise them on commercial practice and how to "do business". I don't doubt that they possess the attributes described above, but they appear find their application to commerce extremely challenging. Just my experience, YMMV.
  8. That is the crux of the argument, the application of all that training to the commercial world, some do it very well, some do it very badly, the majority sit in the middle of the two.

    I know of one chap who left as a freshly promoted Corporal and is now a very highly paid and very Senior Manager for a Multinational because he can apply those attributes to his industry. Then there is the over qualified LE Officer who changes his job every six months as he can't apply those principles and attributes to the commercial world, even though as an LE Officer he was viewed as the cream of the crop.

    Without good guidance from those already doing the job/management to get things right - and it tends to come right - some will inevitably fail as they just can't get their head around it. When it does work it does work well. One of the good things about a probation period is that you can give the guy/gal enough rope to hang themselves or tether the rudder, if they can't get it right after that they probably never will.
  9. arent you mobilised?

    Your answer: security guard at front door.....

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    I'm sorry but, much as I fondly regard my time in the military and those I worked with, anyone postulating the above can expect a hard landing:

    1. Selection of the aim - that's not dependent on military training and experience and do you truly believe that military folk cannot be dragged down irrelevant cul de sacs. Have you ever been a party to a dress regs discussion?
    2. Ability to make a decision? Clearly no decision has ever been made by anyone without military training then. 'They will never suffer from decision paralysis' - apart from the multiple occasions in military history when exactly that has happened and however has the rest of humanity coped? This also pre-supposes that a clear decision is desirable - not always the case in the corporate world.
    3. Leadership - in commerce and industry, the requirement is usually for management rather than leadership. It is a clear distinction and two are not interchangeable nor is leadership the exclusive preserve of the military.
    4. Strategic Viewpoint. My industry looks ahead in twenty year cycles and on a global basis, it also continually engages at national and supra-national levels. I'm not sure how you trump that in terms of a strategic approach.
    5. Values and Standards. Some yes, others no. A quick search of Arrse would show a less than uniform approach to this issue.
    6. Calmness under pressure - but what sort of pressure? Life threatening or career ending? And are your really so sure that your civilian counterparts have not been in the same situation. I make decisions which mean that I don't get paid next month and can put my family's future in jeopardy very quickly - these are a fact of life and not on a six month rotation.
    7. Flexibility - your military staff won't forget this? Really? The military contains some of the most inflexible creatures in God's creation and only a fraction of a fraction of the military could function in a cutting edge nerd environment like IT.
    8. Emotional intelligence - what in the Army gives us an edge over the rest in EI and explain the various capbadge campaigns in this context?
    9. Discipline - consider what's required to achieve a decent degree in a serious subject not to mention the post-graduate training required to achieve the necessary professional status whilst piling up humungous debt and then tell me that that does not require considerable discipline in a competitive environment and requires a consistently high standard of output over the best part of a decade and against some very motivated people.
    10. '...your ex-service people will have been taught simply to get the job done.' I suspect that those whose wages depend on it - i.e. most of us, will have learned the same thing too.

    I'm sorry but your post epitomises the complete arrogance and ignorance of some service personnel when talking about this subject and is an excellent example of why you should STFU. My requirements and achievements in almost all your stated deliverables were and are an order of magnitude greater in my civilian life than ever they were in the Army and I suspect that they are many on this site who are in a similar position. I'll always give ex-army folk a second look, if only to counter-act the lefty lesbians who won't, but they still need to sell themselves on who they are and what they've done. Simply having been in the Army does not imbue the standards and values or denote the standard of achievement you've described, and nor are Her Majesty's Armed Forces the epitome or the exclusive owners of those qualities, no matter how much I wish they were.

    Ex-service folk may well be Jesus re-born, equally, they may be system-dependent jobsworth ******* who haven't a scooby about what it takes to find the wages on a Friday or what it means if someone doesn't.

    Noble sentiments but your post is a crock and I hope that anyone going for a job in civvy street does so on the basis of their personal qualities and achievements and not on the basis of some mystic and completely bogus valuation of the skills and values that service imbues.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Thanks for all your answers - I've just started composing my note now. Broadly, I believe that employing ex-military offers no specific tangible benefits, but can bring cultural and reputational benefits if the process of selection, recruitment, training and employment is done appropriately. I also think we do tell ourselves that we possess certain qualities without realsing that they are also commonplace in civvy street. The best guys I've met in the Army are better than the best I've met in civvy street, but the average guy in civvy street seems to be better than the average guy in the Army - at least in the corporate sector.

    Yes, I am mobilised at the moment, but that was one of the things that brought the military to the attention of the senior management.
  12. I think you should cut Grunt a bit of slack here.

    If this was being generated at MBS, then it was probably on the AMAC. Which means this was being discussed by OF3 upwards. So this is not aimed at talking about the Cpl in the bedding store, it is a product to 'sell' forces to industry. So like all marketing products there is a bit of license.
    You don't see Apple saying "Our kit looks good but it is also very expensive" on their adverts.

    The fact is 95% of civilian industry doesn't have a clue what the Army does and indeed doesn't care. The more of my military career I remove from my CV, the more reponses it gets. The minute I mention I was an officer the image that springs into their mind is either Captain Manwaring (dads army), Lt George (blackadder) or someone from Downton Abbey. The level of ignorance was quite a surprise.

    That said during my travels doing a bit of counsulting I have been astonished at what I see of some industries and I have been amazed how some businesses have not gone out of business.
    David Brent is alive and well and living amongst us. the one advantage the forces has that if someone is in a senior position they will have had some sort of leadership & management training (how much they took on board is pot luck, we have all had a shit CO or 2).
    Outside, just becasue someone has manager/director in their title doesn't mean anything!
  13. Why look at regular officers? There not always as good as they are cracked up to be. I am an ex-ranker who change career completely and am now working in a corporate role. I did a total of 24 years in three armies etc etc. Anyway, I digress.

    This is an individual thing and not a one size fits all. That is the big mistake that all ex-service people make. Yes, there are lot's of skills that the individual can be bring to a company, but on the other side there are more problems associated with service life transition.

    You need to focus on is looking at what is required to move up the ranks. What where the skills that made that person stand out from the crowd, what did they do that made the difference and what were they required to do within the role. Then match it to the job description and the expectation of the management for that role.

    You also need to focus on bad things an ex-service person can bring to an organisation as that is what requires fixing.

    I do a lot of hiring and firing and I am very reluctant to hire ex-service people due to the hang ups, aggressive none flexible I am better than you attitude they can bring to the organisation. This is often supported by an inability to due the job in the first place.

    Best advice is put the army in a box and forget about it and focus on the things you feel you can do and do well.
  14. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    An interesting discussion and some interesting points. Thank you. But a question if you will?

    Does the Army not teach full-on lying these days?

    I am the Grand Dongo of Mars and I have yet to be shot by the Army.

    Because I am a consummate liar. I thought they taught you this when they handed you a gun?