Retention of personnel and morale

#1
The issue seems to raise its head in a few threads, so I thought a thread dedicated to the issue could spark some interesting debate.

What is the problem and how can it be solved?

Despite those in power burying their heads in the sand over the matter, there is obviously a problem.

Even the AFPRB seemed to acknowledge an issue of retention but did nothing about it.







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#2
I dont think the hierarchy has its head in the sand. The biggest problem is that each person has their own reasons for wanting to leave. How to you apply generic policy to specific issues.

Besides this some people just need to leave if they have the wrong attitude for the forces. Military service is something to be aspired to, it's not meant to be easy. If you want an easy life going and do something else.

The one area where someone is torn is between their service and families needs, less disruption should help with retention and there's no reason why we can't have a consolidated period allowing Regiments to settle in one place for a long period.
 
#3
Is it? Voluntary outflow increase for Officer's by 0.6%, but a decrease for OR's by 0.3%. They did identify pinchpoints particularly in Engineering trades and branches, but the general outflow picture has not changed significantly for several years.

Their thoughts on morale coming from visits generally identify basic pay, x-factor, allowances and pension as large factors in recruitment and retention. Hardly a factor within the control of the CoC. The drop in satisfaction with tour lengths, a 4% decrease, I will attribute almost certainly to the RAF decision to extend the norm from 4 months to 6 months. Thoughts on accomodation from SP on visits remained largely unchanged.

The final factor they touch on was Operational tempo, followed by spousal employment and career. I agree with both. As usual I make no comment on the Army, but we (the RAF) are ragging the same force elements for SHADER as we were for HERRICK. The departure from Afghanistan has dropped the Operational tempo, arguably, only for some of the ACSSUs and the RAF Regiment. Flying FE@R remain just as committed.

The rate of increase of pay and allowances was identified as an issue, but a slow burn one over several years.

I don't see anything in their report that can be aimed at the CoC in particular. While they may have their part to play, all of that is overshadowed by the political and global environment.

Thoughts or corrections welcome, particularly by the ACSSUs and RAF Regiment ;)
 
#4
Personally I feel the army perhaps lacks a purpose since the end of Herrick.

I think many personnel are astute enough to see that the chances of deploying on operations before or immediately after the election are slim.

Obviously SHADER, TORAL etc are going on.




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TheresaMay

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DirtyBAT
#5
What would make a MASSIVE difference are the little things.

By little things I mean those bone reasons for someone being chinned off at the high port. People adhering blindly to publications as a first thought, instead of helping you out by thinking "actually, the book needs a bit of a re-write". Example - retention of SFA in an area where they have 60+ empty ones and a bucketload of reasons why it's best not to uproot a family right now - but since none of them fit into Chapter 8 Para blah blah, it's an open and shut case according to them.

"If you don't take your leave you'll lose it" - err, some of us have actually been out of our ivory towers and have been unable to squeeze it in - it's your leave, it's what you signed up to - leave it alone. If soldiers cannot get all their leave in, maybe it's time you started looking at how much shit your committing them to, instead of blaming it on their 'mismanagment'.

Sports afternoons - early knock offs, late starts - bring them back. "We haven't got the manpower" - yeah, that's been the case since I joined up in 1991 - I dare say in 50 years time it will be the same - so in the meatime, why not look after 'what little manpower we have' by rewarding them for staying loyal. Happy motivated soliders will get a lot more done in one morning if they know they're chinning it at 1500hrs - almost twice as much than keeping them in from 0800hrs - 1700hrs every day because you're worried the boss will grade you down on your SJAR for 'knocking the lads off'.

All of the above is a small selection of stuff that we actually have the power to change, but choose not to for whatever reason. The biggest reason I've seen people leave for, is because there is little difference between an Army life and a civvie life in a 9-5 sense. The fun has gone from a lot of it - by fun I don't mean getting pissed - but I do mean going adventure training, doing exercises with a couple of days off in between to do a couple of battlefield tours. Time off for sports. Treating people with a bit more respect and giving them responsibility.

Just a few observations. Based on fact. Exaggerated? Nope...
 
#6
I agree with you DC, but those little things are down to individual commanders, it would be impossible to develop any policy on it. Ultimately there are good commanders and bad ones, it doesn't mean you have to follow suit.
 

TheresaMay

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DirtyBAT
#7
I agree with you DC, but those little things are down to individual commanders, it would be impossible to develop any policy on it. Ultimately there are good commanders and bad ones, it doesn't mean you have to follow suit.
Absolutely. Hence my point about it all being stuff we can change - by our own attitudes. Instead of worrying about the consequences to them, they should be focussing more on the people they are responsible for (acting like allowances are coming out of their own pockets is a good example of this).

Maybe it's a culture change that's needed, as opposed to policy.
 
#8
Agreed.

How can I get the best out of the people below me should be the question one asks themselves, not how can I make it look like the sun shines out of my arse to the people above me?




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#9
At my unit? For every 3 month ex in BATUS we spend 3 years putting up with chip-shop exercises with 10km a day track mileage limitations, year long stints of hangar cleaning, shite compulsory AT that comes out of our pockets, ignorant Yes-men TSM's who seem to take it as a personal vendetta against the Queen herself should you want to take leave you're actually owed and the strange way of acknowledging there's **** all to do this week but God forbid anyone gets knocked off bedore 1700 any regt that knocks off late MUST be shit hot at their jobs right? The clincher is everyone in the regt knows that if something <i>were</i> to kick off we would never deploy in role and if we did we would be laughably irrelevant to any battlefield which is regularly noticed by even the niggiest of nigs chorused by a collective sigh of resignation.

It's so bad that after years of severe undermanning they now force everyone from phase 2 to come here regardless of PPP requests and any attempt to PPP out takes months and months and months.
 
#10
Personally I feel the army perhaps lacks a purpose since the end of Herrick.

I think many personnel are astute enough to see that the chances of deploying on operations before or immediately after the election are slim.
Funny that. During TELIC, HERRICK ( and the crossover in between when we had lots of purpose ) I was always being told "This is shit, we're too busy, I'm signing off, and nearly every other member of my Sandhurst platoon is doing likewise".

If I believed the dits I heard I'd be suprised if there was anyone to turn the lights out in most messes, and the City would be full of smart, short haired young men with shiny shoes and bulging wallets.

Plus ca la change...
 
#11
What would make a MASSIVE difference are the little things.

By little things I mean those bone reasons for someone being chinned off at the high port. People adhering blindly to publications as a first thought, instead of helping you out by thinking "actually, the book needs a bit of a re-write". Example - retention of SFA in an area where they have 60+ empty ones and a bucketload of reasons why it's best not to uproot a family right now - but since none of them fit into Chapter 8 Para blah blah, it's an open and shut case according to them.

"If you don't take your leave you'll lose it" - err, some of us have actually been out of our ivory towers and have been unable to squeeze it in - it's your leave, it's what you signed up to - leave it alone. If soldiers cannot get all their leave in, maybe it's time you started looking at how much shit your committing them to, instead of blaming it on their 'mismanagment'.

Sports afternoons - early knock offs, late starts - bring them back. "We haven't got the manpower" - yeah, that's been the case since I joined up in 1991 - I dare say in 50 years time it will be the same - so in the meatime, why not look after 'what little manpower we have' by rewarding them for staying loyal. Happy motivated soliders will get a lot more done in one morning if they know they're chinning it at 1500hrs - almost twice as much than keeping them in from 0800hrs - 1700hrs every day because you're worried the boss will grade you down on your SJAR for 'knocking the lads off'.

All of the above is a small selection of stuff that we actually have the power to change, but choose not to for whatever reason. The biggest reason I've seen people leave for, is because there is little difference between an Army life and a civvie life in a 9-5 sense. The fun has gone from a lot of it - by fun I don't mean getting pissed - but I do mean going adventure training, doing exercises with a couple of days off in between to do a couple of battlefield tours. Time off for sports. Treating people with a bit more respect and giving them responsibility.

Just a few observations. Based on fact. Exaggerated? Nope...
When I was a Troop Commander, I regularly let the Troop 'knock-off early" in a sense if there was nothing of any real value to be achieved (in my opinion, of course). What I would do, is make one of the blokes (or girls) phone up the gym and book a hour of bonus Troop PT - i.e. having a kickabout or playing some Basketball or Volleyball for an hour. Then I'd send them on their merry way after that - on the agreement that if the RSM caught any of them, they wouldn't let on that they were going on the piss/back to the block to watch Jeremy Kyle - they basically said they were doing some work for me.

As to the not using all your leave thing - it was the COs policy, or implementation of policy, that led to that happening. I actively encouraged people to take their leave. I also made sure they got TOIL for any bone extra duties etc (which compounded the problem on occasion). Ultimately though, I had to play the game as much as the blokes did. Some things are in the Troopies remit to do, some are not. I certainly wasn't thinking about OJARs at any point. Which was lucky really - as generally mine were pretty mediocre.

The benefit to treating the blokes like grown-ups, was that when I needed them to smash out the hours they did so without (much) grumble. I also had pretty much zero in the way of disciplinary actions during the whole of my time as Tp Comd.
 

TheresaMay

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DirtyBAT
#12
The benefit to treating the blokes like grown-ups, was that when I needed them to smash out the hours they did so without (much) grumble. I also had pretty much zero in the way of disciplinary actions during the whole of my time as Tp Comd.
A fine example of valuing your workforce and getting a motivated one in return.

I think most of the guys will accept pay freezes / pay cuts / changes to promotion / other changes beyond our control etc, so long as they feel part of something special and that they are valued.

It's when we start telling them they can't claim for the use of their car to go on the course we've cancelled their leave for, because they haven't got a non-availability chit for the hire car we also couldn't provide for them, after their FMT 1000 wasn't handed in the pre-requisite 4 working days in advance that was filled in in triplicate because the internal mail system was too slow due to the undermanning of the clerks and having to prioritise their weekly 'monthly checks' over everything else (else 'heads will roll') ...that guys start to think "F**k this, if I want to get stabbed in the back every day I might as well get a civvie job - at least they won't uproot me from my house every 2 years and shout at me for walking on the grass..."
 
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#13
Absolutely. Hence my point about it all being stuff we can change - by our own attitudes. Instead of worrying about the consequences to them, they should be focussing more on the people they are responsible for (acting like allowances are coming out of their own pockets is a good example of this).

Maybe it's a culture change that's needed, as opposed to policy.
It's all very well you being prepared to change, but getting some officers to change is like getting a zebra to change its spots.
 
#14
Give people enough rope to hang themselves.

Everyone gets treated like the adult that they are, no micro managing. The switched on ones will prosper and relish in not being treated like a moron. This has the added benefit of being able to identify the admin clusters as they will inevitably slip up in some way shape or form.

Bit like Darwin's theory of evolution.


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TheresaMay

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DirtyBAT
#16
I think the problem is that the modern generation are all whinging poofs
The Army's always been full of professional whingers!

But in our age of social media, LinkedIn, FaceAche et al - they have instant access via their mobile phones at what friends and family around the world are offering as an alternative lifestyle to spending Friday afternoon sweeping a vehicle hangar.
 
#17
The Army's always been full of professional whingers!

But in our age of social media, LinkedIn, FaceAche et al - they have instant access via their mobile phones at what friends and family around the world are offering as an alternative lifestyle to spending Friday afternoon sweeping a vehicle hangar.
Exactly right. The MOD is a dinosaur that struggles to keep with the times. Some people get it, others are just blind to it and harrumph behind their newspaper. Bloody newspaper. Who, in their right minds, pays for yesterday's news? If something kicks off in the world, e.g. a plane crash, do you

a) pick up today's newspaper which has absolutely fook all in it about the plane crash that happened an hour ago
b) turn on the TV and watch Sky News or CNN
c) pick the phone out of your pocket and have a high-definition video report of the plane creaming in (from the other side of the world), and then use the internet to research the background of the flight/plane/terrorists (if any)/weather/time of day/movies shown on the plane/flight attendants' bra sizes/anything, absolutely anything you could possibly want to know.

That is a microcosm of the MOD and its problems. It has a 1960s attitude to a 2010's problem. It gets fleeced by its suppliers, gets done up like a kipper by the politicians so it can't make radical decisions even if it wanted to, and yet is charged with the most fundamental of duties, national security.

The MOD can't work out what to do with the media, it either panders to it or gets raped by the press, depending on whether there's an R in the month. Other countries use the media as a tool, the media treats the MOD as a different kind of tool.

Borrocks!
 
#19
It might sound a bit of a daft angle, but these 'pinchpoint' trades, are they on the whole more marketable skills on Civvy street than those which are non 'pinchpoint'?
 
#20
Is it? Voluntary outflow increase for Officer's by 0.6%, but a decrease for OR's by 0.3%. They did identify pinchpoints particularly in Engineering trades and branches, but the general outflow picture has not changed significantly for several years.
So what is the average?
 

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