Sad news of more deaths of soldiers in Afghanistan almost every day, coupled with tomorrow’s Remembrance Day, remind us there are those who are prepared to risk everything on our behalf to maintain the values we believe are important.
Not only will some of them never return but many more will return injured – and even more will just find it difficult when they come home after everything that has happened to them. Most find it difficult getting a job when they leave the services.
Think about these figures from the Research Report 2008 by Centre for Housing Policy University York and Ex Service Action Group on Homelessness: 1,100 non-statutory homeless ex-service personnel (predominantly hostel residents, but including some rough sleepers), and approximately 2,500 ex-service personnel in statutorily homeless families are living in London – yes just London – on any given night.
Moreover, the younger ex-service community (those aged between 18 and 49) is twice as likely to be unemployed as its peers (Royal British Legion Report 2006).
As a senior HR professional you can play a role here. Those who have been in the services will have a professional determination to deliver results, be great team members, able to learn fast, always give their best, inspire others, be loyal and great ambassadors for your organisation.
They could be a significant asset for you. Nor only that, we all have a moral obligation to do what is right. Think about asking your CEO what positive steps your organisation can take to support ex-service people to find jobs or help them in other ways. Think about advertising jobs with organisations such as the Royal British Legion Civvy Street Team. All it takes is a phone call. Here’s the number so you have no excuse: 0800 169 4073.
Maybe your talented younger leaders would benefit from meeting some of those who have been in such challenging situations and from supporting the work of those helping ex-service personnel.
At 11am on Wednesday when the streets and offices fall silent for the two minutes’ silence, take those two minutes to think not only about what they did for us but what you can do for them.