Recruiting and retaining for the Army Reserve - some TTPs

#1
Given that they have deleted my Squadron from the ORBAT notwithstanding its having reached full manning but we are all still engaged in the mission to grow and integrate the Army Reserve, you guys might as well have the benefit of a few suggestions from me as to how to recruit and retain in collaboration with, but also despite, the wider Army and MOD.

Click here to download (the PDF is too big to upload to ARRSE due to the lovely pictures):
Dropbox - 20120801-1-Recruiting Brief to OCs-OC_A_Sqn_RY-U.pdf

It's aimed at OCs in the Army Reserve but there might be something for you in there too, whatever your rank or persuasion.

Enjoy!
 
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#3
It was never a tricky one for those who know me to spot, deliberately so. I use an alias only because I am so fed up of adulatory ex-girlfriends tracking me down.
 
#4
Fair one! Thanks for the guide though - I'm a reg, but my regiment consists of 4/5 reserve sub-units, so we do a fair bit of work with them, and it may be useful in the future.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#6
Mod Note:

Some useful, and proven, techniques for improving recruitment and retention. Given that this will be one of the biggest challenges we face during the transition to the new Army Reserve structure I have stickied it.

Please keep it on topic, and civil.

Duke
 
#7
A snapshot of the past. The new Army Reserve will be driven by paired regular unit training tempo (FORM), MTDs allocated to delivering capability to the regular Army (not Study Days or trips on the mountains), and recruiting is online, managed by RG centrally. Personnel will be compulsorily mobilised at the convenience of the SofS/Army, with a cap on salary matching, whilst dental and optician costs will be borne by the Reservist. Retention will be as much by use of revised AR Regulations and compulsion to train (see RFA 96 and/or the new AR Regs in the autumn), whilst Unit activity will be increasingly focused on mil skills and sp to the paired Unit.
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#8
Copied it to my lasts units RHQ, as expected got no reply. Copied it to the best of the sub units who replied saying excellent piece of work that will go to their recruiters and each officer to get a copy.
 
#9
A snapshot of the past.
The principles were still being applied successfully at my former Squadron until 4 July 2013. They are still applicable to the Army Reserve.

The new Army Reserve will be driven by paired regular unit training tempo (FORM)
I am not sure what relevance that has to the subunit recruiting effort.

MTDs allocated to delivering capability to the regular Army (not Study Days or trips on the mountains),
That is not correct. There will be a greater emphasis on adventurous training in the Army Reserve, just as there now is in the regular Army.

and recruiting is online, managed by RG centrally.
Part of the recruiting process is online but it will still be the Army Reserve subunit's implied task to recruit. If you read the paper properly, you will see that the Army Careers Information Office delivered one recruit to my squadron in a period of 18 months. The new Capita system has delivered one recruit so far this year to it.

Personnel will be compulsorily mobilised at the convenience of the SofS/Army, with a cap on salary matching, whilst dental and optician costs will be borne by the Reservist.
True but not really relevant to the recruiting task, except that these terms and conditions of service will need to be made plain to the potential recruit.

Retention will be as much by use of revised AR Regulations and compulsion to train (see RFA 96 and/or the new AR Regs in the autumn), whilst Unit activity will be increasingly focused on mil skills and sp to the paired Unit.
I would love to hear detail on compulsion to train: when is it coming? How do you perceive it as enhancing retention and on what basis? I am not saying it will not; I just want to know what the evidence is.

My own guess (and it is no more than that) is that compulsion will initially impact negatively on retention, as those who cannot adapt to it sign off. Those joining the AR will need to be able to work on that compulsory basis. So regardless of whether retention takes a permanent hit, the type of person who joins and remains in the AR will change. Due to incompatibility with civilian employment, on average members of the AR will be less likely to be in paid steady full-time jobs (and so more likely to be unemployed or in erratic employment). The unemployed tend not to join the Reserves, however: there are nearly one million people aged between 18 and 24 who are not in education or employment but they rarely join because they (currently) can earn only £20 a week from the TA before their Jobseekers' Allowance starts being cut. So my guess is that compulsion will have an overall negative impact on both recruitment and retention, unless compulsion makes for much better training.

If unit activity will increasingly be focused on mil skills and support to the paired unit (presumably meaning less time for recruitment activity), and Capita and RG are not generating recruits because that system is broken, who will be recruiting for the Army Reserve?

I should also point out that almost all of the recruiting endeavours I describe (eg website, PR activity, active mentoring of recruits as they crawl through the needlessly slow process) were done by those involved for free, not on MTDs - so the formal reallocation of recruiting as a task from units to RG, and the units' greater focus on military training and support to the paired unit, are irrelevant.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#10
Capita are so far away from providing the numbers of recruits that units used to generate for themselves (let alone those needed to reach the A2020 target) that it would be hilarious if it wasn't such a catastrophic failure.

With many units seeing recruit numbers coming through the system in single figures (and very small ones at that), the whole of the Army Reserve manning structure will fall apart if unit and sub unit commanders don't do everything in their power to recruit and retain for their own survival.

Rely on Capita alone at your peril.
 
#11
Capita are so far away from providing the numbers of recruits that units used to generate for themselves (let alone those needed to reach the A2020 target) that it would be hilarious if it wasn't such a catastrophic failure.
.........Rely on Capita alone at your peril.
And we didn't really see that one coming did we.........


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#12
With many units seeing recruit numbers coming through the system in single figures (and very small ones at that), the whole of the Army Reserve manning structure will fall apart if unit and sub unit commanders don't do everything in their power to recruit and retain for their own survival.

Rely on Capita alone at your peril.
Two years ago, ATU (S) saw about 90 recruits rock up for weekend one. The last weekend one I saw, some 6 months ago, had 19 pax...

ATU (S) produce about 30% of the Phase 1 trained soldiers for the TA ( the figure may be higher?) If they're seeing a drop off like that, the figures for other ATUs must be even worse.
 
#13
The total trained strength of the Territorial Army was 19,160 on 1 July 2012. On 1 April 2013 it was 19,230 - an increase of 70. The number of untrained (ie, recruits and those who have completed basic but are still in Phase 2 training) fell from 6,420 to 5,460 (i.e., by 15%) in the same period notwithstanding the recruiting surge, centralising grip provided by RG and Capita's best efforts.

See page 29 of the report of the Future Reserves Scrutiny Group at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa..._Year1_Report-_FUTURE_RESERVES_2020_Final.pdf
 
#15
Two years ago, ATU (S) saw about 90 recruits rock up for weekend one. The last weekend one I saw, some 6 months ago, had 19 pax...

ATU (S) produce about 30% of the Phase 1 trained soldiers for the TA ( the figure may be higher?) If they're seeing a drop off like that, the figures for other ATUs must be even worse.
It's worth picking up on this. 6 months ago Capita were not in charge, so this drop off had nothing to do with them. What it does show is that the whole recruiting operation was slowing down even before the new system came in. Any new process then has a period of chaos while everyone gets used to it and this is making things worse.

I'm not sure Capita was ever going to "recruit for the army", just do the back office stuff and manage the process. All the outreach teams are army, and there are army recruiters in every ACIO. There just are less of them, which was an army decision. Capita do the marketing, but when has an ad campaign ever driven floods of recruits to the door? It has to be backed up by engagement at every level.

Having seen various models come and go there is one common thread. If the army doesn't recruit for the army, no one else will. That is doubly true for the Territorial Army.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#16
How is the job at Capita working out for you? Or will you be going there once you retire from your Staff job in the recruiting and Capita project world.

No amount of outreach, unit involvement or advertising will have the slightest effect if the people that it attracts can't get through the process of applying and pre entry testing - which is all "controlled" by Capita. It is like a shop running a massive advertising campaign before they are ready to open the shops. It generates interest, but results in massive frustration.

We went live on what promised to be a good on linesystem to improve the process. Unfortunately, no one appears to have tested to see if the new system works before we shut down the old one.
 
#18
"All the outreach teams are army"

This is true, Im on the outreach team for my unit, but we can't recruit specifically for our unit we have to recruit for the army as a whole. We can't have any leaflets apart from the general "Join the army" leaflets and the only advice we can give to potential candidates is to go to the internet and follow the link to capita.

It was all over the news last week that the TA is getting bigger whilst at the same time its getting smaller due to units closing, where is the advertising campaign now ?
 
#19
It's worth picking up on this. 6 months ago Capita were not in charge, so this drop off had nothing to do with them. What it does show is that the whole recruiting operation was slowing down even before the new system came in. Any new process then has a period of chaos while everyone gets used to it and this is making things worse.

I'm not sure Capita was ever going to "recruit for the army", just do the back office stuff and manage the process. All the outreach teams are army, and there are army recruiters in every ACIO. There just are less of them, which was an army decision. Capita do the marketing, but when has an ad campaign ever driven floods of recruits to the door? It has to be backed up by engagement at every level.

Having seen various models come and go there is one common thread. If the army doesn't recruit for the army, no one else will. That is doubly true for the Territorial Army.
The increase in numbers was a direct response to an advertising campaign in the late summer of 2012. The 1st the TA had aimed at recruiting for them in a very long time. However, the fall of in numbers was because the system was switched off in mid Feb, before being switched on with Capita at the end of March. That 6 weeks, which also was during the TA live – and all the extra media seems utterly err, incompetent. Someone, somewhere wasn’t speaking to each other. I handed over 65 expressions of interest then and have receive 3 back attested. Great.

Capita hold the purse strings for recruitment. Units used to have £2k+ per year for local advertising (our most effective form of generating interest - £200 of job advert in local paper for one wk = 60 expressions of interest) with a small amount more to be asked for from the RFCA. Local units also were able to produce their own ‘locally targeted’ materials. This is all held by Capita and therefore the largest tools we had to recruit have now been taken away from units and centralised. To then say units need to recruit for themselves, misses this budgetary reality. However, no sub unit comdr would trust a system to recruit for them – we are just having to do it on one leg and now with both arms tied behind our backs.

I find the most worrying part of your post is the lack of understanding that you don’t recruit someone once, then it is just process. Recruiting is through life all the way up to the end of TSC B (and then some would say every w/e thereafter) and if one part of this system is overly long, complex, inefficient or has the appearance anything less than smooth, then we will loose recruits very quickly.

The army has to move away from stands in the market place on a Saturday, beating the drum and attracting only the over 60s and under 14s. Just because it looks like activity, and it is one of the few things we can do now is no excuse. After all, if I want an new employee at work, I advertise. I don’t stand on the street with a company stand hoping the right person may be passing. If the local unit is responsible for recruiting, they must have the tools to do it.
 
#20
And good morning to you both.

Look, I think we are agreeing but also that we are talking about two different things. I'm saying that if the TA does not take ownership of recruiting new candidates no-one else will. What I didn't say is that Capita is not ******* up getting them through once they've been recruited.

Obviously the second thing will negate the first thing, but without attracting any recruits first it doesn't matter how bad Capita is, they won't have anyone in the system to **** about.

It is also a fact that the Capita system was not in place 6 months ago, so if things were bad then it wasn't due to them. The bollocks that is going on now is down to them, but pretending they were responsible before they even took over seems a bit odd.
 
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