A new report titled ‘Benefit not Burden’ commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and conducted by Shared Intelligence, calls for increased awareness around the benefits to businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations in the UK in signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and being a veteran friendly employer.
Less than a quarter (24%) of the organisations surveyed in FiMT’s research had heard of the Armed Forces Covenant and only 8% had signed it. The report finds that the smaller an organisation is, the less likely it is to be aware of the Covenant or to have signed it or taken any action.
This lack of awareness, coupled with the lack of understanding around the potential disadvantage facing members of the Armed Forces Community and knowing what type of action an organisation can take, is a significant barrier to organisations signing and enacting the Armed Forces Covenant.
The report launched today, Tuesday 22nd January, at an event in the House of Commons, to an audience of MPs, Ministry of Defence representatives, and public sector and business leaders. It outlines straightforward steps to encourage more organisations across the UK to sign the Covenant, including supporting trade associations and membership bodies to promote the Covenant; they have a key role in encouraging organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and highlighting its benefits.
Most organisations surveyed in the report that are aware of the Covenant had heard about it from a customer or client (23%), an individual within the organisation (22%) or another organisation within a supply chain (17%). Just 3% of organisations cite trade associations as the reason they are aware of the Covenant, and only 10% cite the Ministry of Defence.
Other recommendations in the report include mobilising the voice of the Armed Forces Community to encourage the organisations they work with to sign the Covenant, and encouraging local authorities, other public bodies and large businesses to use their supply chains and procurement processes to encourage businesses and other organisations to sign.
FiMT’s report provides evidence that organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant are more likely to see direct benefits of employing ex-Service personnel, including recruiting or retaining skilled staff and enhancing a company’s reputation. 28% of organisations surveyed in the research claimed that they are likely to sign the Covenant over the next year.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Ex-Service personnel offer a substantial premium of capability to a prospective employer, and a commercial supplier can reap the rewards of customer loyalty and brand reputation by offering the Armed Forces Community advantageous access to goods and services, while ensuring their unique background in the military does not create disadvantage.
“The research in this report shows that there are many organisations who wish to support the Armed Forces Community, but who lack the knowledge and understanding of how to do so. It has identified some straightforward steps that could be taken relatively easily, and which would result in a substantial improvement in how the nation fulfils its side of the Covenant.”
Phil Swann, Executive Chair of Shared Intelligence, said: “Our research identified several ways of increasing awareness of the Covenant, including the role of trade bodies, supply chain relationships and mobilising the voice of the Armed Forces Community itself. The best ambassadors for the Covenant are businesses which have benefitted from delivering it.”
You can see a copy of the Executive Summary and full report here.