Last week, I was lucky enough to go and receive Bays Consulting’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in a ceremony at Portsmouth. The event was kindly hosted by the South East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, onboard HMS King Alfred, where we were one of 40 companies, large and small, to be presented our award.
Nice though it is to have an award to put up on the Bays office wall, in reality we get more out of being Armed Forces Covenant signatories than we put in – and not because of a lack of effort!
Bays is lucky to have a veteran, a reservist, and a military spouse in its employ; maths, statistics and data science might not be their core skills, but they bring a wealth of other transferable skills to the party.
The military principle of ‘mission command’ is a mindset we value in a small company. In the military this means you give your ‘intent’ to your subordinates, enabling them to make decisions that achieve your objective – rather than making them slavishly follow orders to the letter. In a small business this is an equally valuable skill, where we encounter new situations frequently and the mindset that strives to get to the outcome rather than balk at the sight of something unusual is highly desirable.
The military also has an output-orientated focus. I remember phrases like ‘the worst decision is no decision’ and ‘don’t wait for perfect, good will do’ being drummed into me, and while I agree that planning and attention to detail are important, a sense of perspective and an appreciation of deadlines is very useful for a client-facing organisation. Military personnel always get something done – which once again is a key skill in a small business.
As a remote company we stand to benefit most from reservists and military spouses. Military bases are rarely in places with great transport connections, and instead of trying to make people fit the classic commuter mould and come to an office every day, we are able to capitalise on their skills wherever they are in the UK – and in turn provide employment nationally too.
For those interested in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, it’s a scheme to encourage employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. It has three tiers of bronze, silver, and gold, each with more stringent requirements to demonstrate support and commitment. Our silver award means that we have demonstrated that we don’t disadvantage defence personnel during recruitment, internally publicise our policies that support defence personnel, and to have a framework in place to allow Reservists to train and mobilise without being penalised. Now that we have a silver award, we are going for gold – which involves further formal relationships with defence.
Having seen the benefits, we have tried to create a symbiotic relationship, where we benefit from the myriad skills veterans and reservists have to offer, while allowing the wider defence community to benefit from our flexibility and remote working practices.