Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by msr, Sep 16, 2005.
A sticky thread for all your thoughts/ideas
Put the best people into Recruiting. Those that are motivated, commited and have career prospects. No-one wants to see the fat old Sgt with his LSGC and Golden Jubilee who is there because it's his turn.
Do stuff on Drill nights. My idea for a fixed schedule rotating between engineering theory/practical, Military and fun topics would be ace (If only I wasn't so low that people ignored me).
Get rid of the biffs (in the unit and during recruiting). People leave because L/Cpl Bloggs is a t0sser and "I don't want to share a trench with that Jack B@stard".
Just some initial thoughts.
The following threads may be useful for reference.
General TA recruiting comments and ideas:
Funding for recruiting:
Advertising & marketing, lack of response, discussion of demographics:
Its all very well thinking of the recruits and how to get them, but you also have to consider the staff aswell. If you have some young private or a lance jack in recruiting, they may well want to further their trade and career. This aint gonna happen in recruiting, so a staff rotation system should be in place so they can go on courses. Say 3 months on, 3 months off. And if they require to go on a course, then the team in reserve can fill the post.
We see the adverts for the TA with all the action and excitment, and we know that that happens about 4 or 5 times a year. So its no good for these recruits coming in through the door and seeing a fat sgt who cant be arsed, a s/sgt who walks around in slippers and a fat brummy sgt major who slags off ethnic minorities.
At our troop is a folder to fall back on if no training is on for the recruits, simple stuff like webhbing lessons, how to pack a bergan. Real simple stuff. But its there just in case. Although we always try to lay something on a tuesday night. For the past month they have been digging a battle trench. Learning real engineering skills that they will use after recruting.
There is a very good TA recruiting aide memoire, produced about 5-10 years ago that is excellent - ask your PSAO/Chief Clerk to get you one. It's all in there - it's so good, I could have written it myself.
Recruiting is not the issue - we get people turning up all the time. The issue is keeping them until they get the 'habit'. That is achieved by the three "i"'s.
Get those three right and they'll stay. How you achieve it will be different for every unit but if you remember that quality training (for which you will need quality trainers), integrating the individuals into the unit (ensuring that the cliques don't force them out) and constantly ensuring that your unit admin (Trg prog, pay, docs, troop meetings, Exercises) etc etc are are vital and you'll have a fully recruited and motivated unit in no time.
The sad bit, that few people realise, is that it's hard work - all of the time.
Recruiting. Make the poor buggers welcome , talk to them
Get them up in the bar , if there's a few then get some pies on
I'm at a complete loss for recruiting having never come through the TA sausage machine
Maybe I should have said the "Three I's and Pies"
Pies area good idea! - probably comes under 'integration'.
On a more serious note, recruiting will be more difficult going forwards under rebalancing - not least because the Sabre sponsored adverts claim that all new recruits should expect to be mobilised at least once in their first five years - this will definitely temper the enthusiasm of some.
Rebalancing will palce all recruiting for regulars and TA under one umbrella - out of interest, someone I was talking to the other day advised that where the pilot had been operated, the ACIOs convinced a lot of people who had come in to join the TA to join the regulars......
(Hope it's the same one stab if not, please could you find a reference.)
This aide-memoire fits into the TAM and considers retention as well. Interesting that it fits into the TAM - kind of implies that Commanders have a responsibility for recruitment and retention. Strange that so many seem to think that the nameless "they" should do something instead of getting out there and doing it themselves.
COunter argument: but we didn't join the TA to recruit. Perhaps not, but if you don't recruit now, there won't be a TA in a few years (possibly as few as 5) so whatever reason you joined for won't exist then either.
I once shadowed a successful recruiter for an infantry regiment a couple of years ago. Said regiment had recently began to strongly recover from a recruiting slump. I found out why.
1. The recruiter's first asset was his enthusiasm. This chap was only a Private, and he got sent to recruiting because he'd had an accident and probably wasn't ever going to properly soldier again. Still, that didn't stop him.
His enthusiasm was infectious. I saw him interact with a bunch of teenagers - they came in sulking and they came out smiling.
His OC made sure the Private got recognition for his effort; he was frequently featured in local newspapers, whether with recruits or doing fun runs, etc.
Recruiters who enjoy their jobs and are rewarded for doing well are more likely to be consistent. It's pretty simple, but I doubt many TA units really put that much thought into matters.
Conversely, in the United States they post the best and the brightest to recruiting stations, but the pressure of quotas is so intense that many finish their tours as cynical, disheartened, sometimes even corrupt individuals because they have to come up with devious methods in order to avoid a bad report.
A recruiter can be like a teacher - he has to work with the people he's given. Not all recruiters recruit few people because they're incompetent.
2. His second asset I shall describe in a rather dubious sentence: This guy spoke to girls; rather, despite being an Inf recruiter, he made it a point to talk to all people about the army in general and help them realize what kind of job they might like - he thought in terms of 'one up', so to speak.
By keeping the recruiting picture for the whole army in mind, he maximized the number of potential recruits. If all recruiters did this, then there'd a lot of...how should I call it...cross-polenisation - an Arty recruiter discovering a potential infanteer, an Inf recruiter steering someone interested in flying in the right direction.
3. This guy networked a lot. Many of his recruits came through job centres. I'm afraid that's part of life for the infantry, having to sift through the such sad places. It got the job done for him, and many recruits were the kind of people who ended up unemployed, not because they were stupid, but because they didn't know/were never told they could be anything better.
The recruiter networked with many people who'd never join the army themselves, but who would bring him closer to potential recruits. Another life skill.
Many recruits in the TA seem to be friends of friends. Networking in action. The HAC is brilliant at this, allegedly. I hear their recruiters were once told when there'd be a fire drill in the Docklands (thanks to contacts) - cue an HAC recruiting stand outside the buildings that were being evacuated and some kind of snazzy demonstration.
TA recruiting must build on existing strengths, this is surely one of them. Expand on that.
4. I'm sure the recruiter has left the army by now, and I'd hope he used the skills he learned to become something like a headhunter. You can learn great skills for our service-oriented society from recruiting. That should be an incentive to succeed.
Stuff like 'Be all you can be' surely works as much for the TA as anyone. Messages like that are powerful, far more so than 'go hang gliding'.
Pagemaster mentioned fat recruiting sgts - these guys are obviously not 'all they can be' (except bulk-wise). Why would a recruit want to follow in their footsteps.
5. Follow through. This is where it all falls down.
I've rented a flat from a sucessful insurance salesman. He could sell you anything! - his gift of the gab is that good.
The problem is follow through. In his case, we responded to an ad for a flat with a kitchen. There was no kitchen! He said a month and there'd be a flashy new one. Two months later, nothing. He says it's all the unreliable people he hired to do the job. Can't get a grip on them. So, we'll move out.
The army's the same. A stark difference between what you promise and reality. So, they leave.
Don't promise stuff you can't deliver. Don't hand over your precious new recruits to people who'll deliver the exact opposite of what you've promised.
The TA can't afford this in the slightest because unlike the regulars and the US reserves, there's no contract, and people can walk out at pretty much at will (which, BTW, is definitely a plus to mention in ads - I've spoken to too many people who believe that once you join the TA, you can't leave).
All these ads promising lots of AT? C'mon! That may have generally worked pre-80's, but now we're a cynical lot, and if we want to find out the truth, we check it up on the web. And the truth is not AT, and Pims on the beach(head).
What are people missing today? Is it really AT, or is it sports with a bunch of people you know by name - unlike your neighbours? Men live in an age of metrosexuals - how many millions would rather just be men? What happened to comraderie?
What happened to adventure? What about bored housewives? Corporate busineeswomen who want an edge over men in the masculinity stakes ("'Wow', you closed the HyperCorporation deal with a 12% margin? Really? Well, while you did that I crawled in mud, blew up a house and downed 25 pints of ale. That's right, no alcopops. Lick my boots, boy!)?
Stupid adverts for day trading software proclaim "Be Extraordinary!!!!!!!", why shouldn't the TA?
The US NG has a kind of 'don't deploy, one year try before you buy' program, which kind of mimicks the TA in that people could leave at any time. Many stayed on.
It was very successful, I hear, though the Septics shot themselves in the foot by forcing these trialists to go to Iraq - despite the promises and lack of contract. Ouch! Again, follow through...
TA recruiting doesn't need more pepper, it needs more spice.
Which brings me to my silly suggestion of the day, based on the successful America's Army game: license that technology, and The Sims'; combine the two; produce "STAB - the game".
You could include minigames such as sneak to work in uniform past anti-war protestors and Al-Mohajiroon recruiters. Or down the pints, the TA equivalent of the post-coital cigarette. Chat up the female green slime officer you randomly meet on STANTA. Smash the Powerpoint projector, Splash out at Silvermans, etc. All for free on the next cover of PC Geek. Marvellous.
End random rant.
enthus I A S M = I Am Sold Myself
Brilliant post cheesy and so agree with the follow through. I use a (non-corporate but it works) .ppt entitled Salesmanship (for Soldiers to Recruit) some bullet points from which are:
There are other slides and there is a script but I hope you will all agree that those are fairly self explanatory. I finish with, "Do tell it like it is, but if like it is isn't good enough it's up to you to change it until it is."
That's all very good abacus but I think the best way to beat the drum would be to have young, attractive, topless girls waving union flags and being all pretty and flirty and handing out strong drink. Before the young men realise what's happened they have signed up for twenty two years.
Failing that I would like to volunteer to lead a press gang. (preferably one consisting of at least three young, attractive, topless ladies.)
pmsl@Lairdx (just in case your young ladies are into txt spk )
Many a word spoken in jest....
Lairdx hits the nail on the head: fat, lazy, near retirement LCpl with old, tatty combats, fag hanging out of mouth and beret not been seen since last Annual Camp doesn't work. Bright, young, shiny recent soldier recruits and newly commissioned Officers do. And sod the PC Brigade, sex sells and pretty young girls - if you have them - will always attract more interest from recruitable young men.
And old ones like me and Lairdx
My only fear is that due to budget constraints, the Army will be unable to recruit or indeed hire such volumptuous individuals and instead resort to 'altering' current recruiters instead.
You've got a huge and under-exploited audience in the cadet organisations (ACF, ATC etc). Many cadets (male and female) simply 'age out' in their early twenties with no further contact with HM Armed Forces, when they could be snapped up by the Regulars or the Reserves. All right, their military training is rudimentary but at least they have some idea what they are getting into.
Sow the seeds of the idea early and remind on a regular basis, i.e. schedule a visit at least once a year. Even bringing the unit's promo DVD and a bit of green kit to a drill night can go a long way to kindling interest - how difficult is it to indent for a couple of AK's ? Invite the older cadets who are going to 'age out' to a starred field weekend, where your unit is going to put on its best face.
Contrarywise, having a miserable, sullen git at your 'front of house' leaves a bad taste for all things military which lingers for a long time. The Chief Clerk at Int & Sy Gp (V) in the nineties frightened off many a potential recruit and had a negative effect on retention, too.
Good post FrogPrince. We achieved huge success by going even further:
When top quality SNCOs got to retirement age, instead of endless extensions we offered them the chance to transfer to ACF as AIs. One now ACF Commissioned and a steady supplier of fresh recruits because he:
a) Looks the part.
b) Has already walked the talk.
c) Wants to stay in touch with his old mates.
d) Because of c) gains extra assists and opportunities for his Cadets so everyone wins.
Separate names with a comma.