The Benefits of Being a Forces Friendly Employer

The Benefits of Being a Forces Friendly Employer
June 01, 2020

Lockheed Martin Corporation has a strong tradition of employing military veterans – in fact one in five of our employees has served in uniform.

The company welcomes the unique skills and experiences veterans bring to our workforce.  In the US, Lockheed Martin has been ranked as a top military friendly employer for the last 11 years – and the same values and approach are reflected in the company’s international business.

Lockheed Martin UK seeks to support the employment of veterans of all ages and works closely with the Career Transition Partnership, the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement. HR representatives attend the annual careers fair and participate in a live web chat for leavers.

The company endeavours to offer flexibility in granting leave and flexible working for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment.

The company is also working hard to establish relationships with the various Families Federations. With 20 locations across the UK, many co-located at military bases, Lockheed Martin may be in a position to help military spouses maintain employment as their partners receive new postings.

Why recruit veterans

Veterans comprise 30 per cent of engineering and management staff at Lockheed Martin UK’s Strategic Systems business unit. 
The team speaking to prospective recruits at the 2017 careers fair for Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde

The team speaking to prospective recruits at the 2017 careers fair for Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde

Strategic Systems Managing Director Mike Scott served for 28 years in the Royal Navy before joining Lockheed Martin.  Mike oversees operations at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, and in Bristol, Barrow-in-Furness, and Plymouth.

Mike Scott said: “Given the specialist nature of our work, we frequently work side-by-side with the Royal Navy and recognise that the technical qualifications, leadership and management skills, and mission focus that they possess are talents we wish to maintain within our joint enterprise when submariners retire from the Service.

“As a submarine veteran myself, I recognise that the qualities and behaviours of Lockheed Martin and the Armed Forces are very closely aligned, and I appreciate the enormous value of recruiting Service leavers into our company; the vast majority of who become extremely loyal, long-term employees.”

The Strategic Systems team has established strong ties to the local Resettlement Centre and are active participants in career fairs and business forms and other events where veterans can discover the benefits and opportunities of a second career at Lockheed Martin. 

Benefits across all business sectors

The value of employing veterans is not just for businesses like Lockheed Martin working in the defence industry.

A 2016 report by Deloitte, Veterans Work, found that three in ten businesses admit they have not considered employing veterans, citing a lack of industry-specific experience. And more than half of veterans in the UK find themselves in routine, low-skilled or low-paid jobs.

But those who did employ veterans found many positive benefits.

A third of the medium and large organisations surveyed by Deloitte had skills gaps in strategic management, managing and motivating staff, team-working, positive attitude and listening skills. These are all areas where veterans were seen as performing well by around 90 per cent of the organisations that have employed them. Three quarters of the companies surveyed also found veterans took less time off sick, and around half found veterans tended to get promoted more quickly. 

Supporting Reservists and Cadets

Lockheed Martin UK offers flexible HR policies to support military training and call up for reservists. Military reservists are offered 120 hours paid leave a year to attend training. Reservists who are called up for duty remain as employees throughout deployment and retain their employment benefits. Paid leave for cadets to perform their duties is agreed at a local business area level – this will be standardised to 120 hours a year across all UK business from 1 January 2021.

Alice Mallen, Human Resources Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We recognise the important role reservists and cadets perform for the Armed Forces, and therefore for all of us - but there are also important benefits for our organisation. The company is able to take advantage of the skills, knowledge and experience our employees gain in these roles.”

Dougy Wright is a reservist with the Royal Navy

Dougy Wright is a reservist with the Royal Navy

Dougy Wright MBE is Deputy Chief Engineer In Service Support, supporting the Royal Navy Merlin MK2 helicopter fleet based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. He has been a reservist in the Royal Navy for the last four years and says the additional 15 days leave from Lockheed Martin for his reservist duties is fundamental to his ability to contribute.

Dougy said: “Being able to complete reserve time keeps me current with the present-day ethos, values and direction of the Royal Navy which I bring back into the company and use on a daily basis.”

Kimberley Norris enjoys her volunteer role as Commanding Officer of a cadet squadron

Kimberley Norris enjoys her volunteer role as Commanding Officer of a cadet squadron

For Senior Systems Engineer Kimberley Norris, being a cadet helped her to find her passion in life. A week’s work experience at RAF Marham opened her eyes to a career in the traditionally male-dominated profession of engineering. Kim now combines her role at Lockheed Martin as lead systems engineer on a navigation system for the Royal Navy with volunteering as Commanding Officer of the Havant Air Cadet squadron. She is also a Women in STEM ambassador and was one of the Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering Under 35 in 2017.

Kimberley Norris said: “The squadron has 20 cadets aged 12 to 20. I really enjoy helping them to develop their potential. I am also gaining practical leadership and management skills and training which is supporting my professional career.”

How to become a forces friendly employer

Becoming a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant is a great way of demonstrating your commitment and shaping your aspirations into specific actions. Lockheed Martin UK first signed the Covenant in 2014 and our pledge is a public document. As the covenant says, reflecting on the freedoms Armed Service personnel give up and the risks they take on behalf of the country: “The whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.”

Becoming a forces friendly employer: Recommendations from Lockheed Martin UK’s HR team

  • Join and actively participate in key military employment organisations and networks such as the Career Transition Partnership.
  • Consider signing the Armed Forces Covenant and supporting the annual Armed Forces Day.
  • Ensure recruitment advertising includes channels accessed by serving and veteran personnel.
  • When hiring, take into account transferable skills and wider potential rather than always focusing on industry-specific experience. 
  • Review your HR policies and processes to ensure they provide appropriate support, including induction and the inevitable transition period.
  • Consider adding an Armed Forces charity to your charitable donations/sponsorship portfolio. Like so many charitable organisations, Armed Forces charities have suffered a drop in donations since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armed Forces Covenant
In July 2021, Lockheed Martin was awarded Gold Status.