Plenty of organisations commit, through the Armed Forces Covenant, to making sure that they: “acknowledge and understand that those who Serve or who have Served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they Serve with their lives.”
The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), for example, encourages employers to support the Forces Family by aligning their values with the Armed Forces Covenant, with graduated levels of achievement: bronze,
silver and gold awards for organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate their support.
In practice, the Armed Forces Covenant can include a huge variety of support and services for Forces personnel and their families. Key areas include help with some of the more crucial aspects of resettlement such as finding a civilian home, access to health care and financial advice. Once you’re established, a little further digging will help you to uncover specifically designed discounts and deals on everything from motor insurance to broadband and phone packages – as well as important commitments to helping Service-leavers into jobs where they can use transferable skills acquired in the Forces.
Gold award holders don’t simply receive their accreditation for time served. They really do need to wear their commitments on their sleeves before being recognised. For instance, a couple of the more important commitments from the list of criteria include points like: “The employer must proactively demonstrate their Forces-friendly credentials as part of their recruiting and selection processes” and that “Employers must employ at least one individual from the Armed Forces community category that the nomination emphasises. For example, an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must employ at least one Reservist.”
Arguably, most important of all is that: “The employer must actively ensure that their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards defence people issues”. This is crucial since it keeps Forces Family issues on the agenda for both Service personnel and the public, which has always been a fundamental function of the Covenant from the start
The majority of gold accredited companies and organisations have 500+ staff, such as Tesco, BT, and Barclays, etc. Nevertheless, there are currently three companies with less than 10 staff that have reached the gold standard: Combat Pest Control, Forward Assist Veterans Charity and Future Sales Factory. Outstanding!
Organisations that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant operate in all sectors and industries. The Armed Forces Covenant website has a useful search tool to help you find organisations in your local area.