Military skills and values are a good fit for UK SMEs

This past weekend we celebrated Armed Forces Day (Saturday 29 June), honouring the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.

To coincide with the event, YouGov and veterans’ employment charity The Poppy Factory published research highlighting how beneficial the skills and values developed in the military are to UK businesses.

According to the survey of more than 2,100 UK adults, communication, team work, organisation and problem-solving were the highest-rated workplace skills for UK businesses, all typical attributes of veterans who are transitioning to the civilian world after leaving the Services, says the Ministry of Defence. Adding to this, respect for others, integrity, discipline and loyalty, all key Army values, featured in the top five essentials for workplace success.

While these attributes are a good fit for UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) report says that more could be done to harness the skills and work-ethic of military leavers.

Approximately 340,000 (6 per cent) of SMEs are run by ex-military personnel and more than one-in-ten (12 per cent) SMEs have employed a service leaver in the last three years. However, entrepreneurial and workplace talent of Britain’s military veterans isn’t being fully realised, the FSB says.

The report, ‘A Force For Business’, recommends an enhanced support package for those transitioning out of the armed forces, including a greater focus on the option of self-employment and the key skills needed to succeed in enterprise.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, comments: “Setting up and running your own business requires courage, determination and a strong work ethic. These are attributes which service leavers have in spades, and why self-employment is a route well worth considering by those coming towards the end of their time in the Armed Forces.

“But there is room for greater support and advice to service leavers on the options of self-employment or finding work within an existing smaller business, and there should be more of a focus on the key skills needed to succeed in enterprise.”

Lt. Col. Ren Kapur, Founder and CEO of X-Forces Enterprise, supporting entrepreneurial ambition and enterprise skills in the military community, and FSB’s Armed Forces Champion for Small Business, adds: “Many skills developed within the Armed Forces community are in high demand in the commercial world of employed work; cyber security, drone technology, telecommunications, logistics, prosthetics, and artificial intelligence, to name just a few.

“These extremely valuable skills must not be lost to the commercial world, either employed or self-employed – it is likely that these individuals can experience and flourish in both after serving their country so well.”

The Government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. You can also find out more about the Defence Relationship Management Programme which partners with businesses throughout the UK, offering advice and support on employing members of the armed forces community, and enables organisations to develop a mutually beneficial working relationship with the Ministry of Defence.

About Beavis Morgan

It’s not only the nature of your work, but also the lifestage you have reached that will define the kind of advice and support you need. At Beavis Morgan, we can help you make critical decisions at each phase of your development cycle, from startup guidance to exit strategies, and everything in between.

For more information about how we can help you and your business, contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.

Further reading:

Advice and tips for SMEs throughout each lifestage – from startup, through growth, maturity and exit

Which lifestage is your business in and what actions do you need to take now?