Information for employers and educators

There may be people in your organization who can give you a better competitive edge than you realize: Canadian Armed Forces Reservists.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

For starters, Reservists are civilians who are working for you. Not just "working for you" in the larger sense. By serving their country, they do that too, of course, but in real terms, we mean that often, Reservists are your employees or your students: they are your clerks, your information agents, your maintenance staff, your middle managers, your directors. If you’re an educational institution, you’ll be interested to know that about 30% of Canada’s 26,000 Reservists are students.

They hold a rank in the Canadian Armed Forces, and they are trained to do things you might not really be aware of. Sometimes, their military trade is similar to what they’re doing for you. Sometimes, what they do is so different from their regular job that you would be surprised. They can dig a trench, they can stand a bridge watch at sea; they are medical assistants. Their ranks can vary from Army Private to Naval Commander. Some have been deployed operationally in service to their country. Many of them are leaders; some have even commanded large units.

Reservists. . . have been taught personal management skills and teamwork skills.

They have been taught self-confidence, order, discipline, initiative, and leadership. They’ve been taught personal management skills and teamwork skills. They have also been taught that sometimes, there are things more important than themselves. They are motivated and above all, they have been taught loyalty. Loyalty to the team, to the group, to the organization. And they work for you.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

Perhaps more than you realize. You need to know who these people are, because you might have a valuable resource you weren’t really aware of. The middle manager you’re considering promoting might already be a senior officer in the Reserve, and probably knows something about leadership. Deciding who to appoint team leader on a work site might be easier if you knew one of your candidates was a Sergeant with twelve years’ experience in the Army Reserve, including a tour of duty in a danger zone. And so on.

Reservists. . . might need you to lend a hand, to encourage them, to give them a boost.

One of the Reservist’s biggest challenges is balancing the commitments of his or her civilian world (including your expectations) with those of the Canadian Armed Forces. The good news is that most of the time, they do this quite well. But sometimes, they might need you to lend a hand, to encourage them, to give them a boost.

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?

There isn’t one, really. Except that they might sometimes ask you for some military leave. They probably don’t mind working late for you, but might find it hard to do that on a Reserve training night. And every year or so, they might ask you for some military leave to perform military duties. Is that a lot to ask for? Usually, it isn’t. And there’s another reason: if you thought they were loyal before, imagine how they’ll feel if you help them out.

WHAT’S THE BENEFIT?

Your Reservist employees have been trained to follow orders and in many cases, trained to lead; they know how to put the team’s interests ahead of their own, they are loyal toward those who’ve shown them decent leadership and they may have a set of professional skills you didn’t know about. How many of your regular employees could you describe that way? So what’s the benefit? Maybe a big one. The more Reservists you have, the more of an edge you’re likely to have. In fact, if you’re planning to hire new employees, you might want to consider the edge you’ll get by hiring a Reservist.

They have a range and scope of training that can be a great advantage for you.

SO WHAT ARE WE ASKING OF YOU?

Not all that much. If you’re a business or organization, we’re talking about two extra weeks’ vacation without pay every one or two years. Not working late on a training night. . . that’s about it. Exceptionally, some Reservists may serve longer, but that is fairly infrequent, and you would know well in advance and decide accordingly whether you can let them go.

They are part-time soldiers, sailors and airmen/airwomen whose contribution to the country’s defence needs is considered vital.

If you’re an educator, we’re asking for some occasional individual flex on course and exam scheduling.

Since June 2012, the federal government, all ten provincial governments, and all three territories have passed job protection legislation for Reservists. All Reservist leave is without pay, although employers may decide to provide "top up" pay to make up the difference between the military and civilian pay. Please refer to the Job Protection Legislation section for more information.

WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO ANYWAY?

A lot, it turns out. For the most part, Reservists train in their home towns at their respective units. From time to time, they receive trade, professional or leadership training at bases elsewhere, or may acquire actual experience in the field or at sea. They are soldiers, airmen/airwomen and sailors who serve their country well, and are often integrated with their Regular Force counterparts. Some are on full-time coastal patrol or are serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Of the approximately 90,000 men and women serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, about one-third – some 26,000 – are Reservists. They are part-time soldiers, sailors and airmen/airwomen whose contribution to the country’s defence needs is considered vital. Most are Army, followed by the Naval Reserve and the Air Reserve. The rest are in Health Services, Legal Services or are part of the Cadet Instructors Cadre.

LET US SHOW YOU

If you can spare a few days or even a few hours, we’d like nothing better than to actually SHOW you what Reservists do. We’ll take you to an air base; we’ll take you into the field to actually SEE what our soldiers do, and we’ll even take you to sea in a Royal Canadian Navy warship. You’ll see Reservists in action, the things they do and the sophisticated equipment they use. And they’ll do you proud. Call or write to us.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

In addition to granting military leave for military training for your Reservist employees or students, the following are other ways you can show your support:

Hiring Reservists. All the reasons that favour you showing some flexibility with your Reservist employees apply in the hiring of new ones. In other words, current or past Reserve service on an applicant’s CV should be something to look for.

Statement of Support. Signing and forwarding a Statement of Support is your signal to the business community that you value the contribution our Reservists make – both to society and to your organization.

Making military leave part of your Human Resources policy. Supporting military leave sends a clear signal to the business or educational milieu as well as to your current and future Reservist employees. It will help give you a competitive edge. We guarantee it.

 

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