When you became a Reservist you made a number of commitments to your unit, including being willing to attend training and to be mobilised if necessary. However, you also have commitments to your civilian employer and it can sometimes be difficult to balance the two.
Why you need your employer's support
Having your employer's support as a Reservist is invaluable if you need to ask for extra leave to attend training, and especially if you’re mobilised. Being open and honest about your commitments as a Reservist and telling them about the skills and training you receive as a result will help a great deal. Not only will it enable your employer to plan ahead, but they’ll also be more likely to support you if they recognise the extra skills and qualities you’re gaining.
Building up a good relationship with your employer
Obtaining and keeping the goodwill of your employer is a continuous process. It always helps if you can:
- give as much notice as possible whenever you need to take time off work
- if your absence creates difficulties for your employer, show you understand and, if possible, suggest a solution
- keep your employer updated about the training you’re doing and outline the benefits to them
- encourage your employer to visit this site or call the SaBRE helpline (0800 389 5459) if they have any queries you can’t answer or contact RSCD
- if you have an HR department, you might like to have similar meetings with them, and/or copy them in on any relevant correspondence with your manager
- Never underestimate the importance of thanking your employer for their support. It will always be appreciated and remembered.
As soon as you receive your dates for training or mobilisation, let your employer know. The more notice you can give, the less likely you are to meet resistance as it enables your employer to plan how they will cover your absence. Always confirm the dates in writing and notify HR if relevant.
It’s helpful to remind your manager nearer the time of the dates you’ll be away, especially if you think they may have forgotten. Also, update your manager as quickly as possible about any changes to dates and confirm them in writing to ensure there’s no confusion.
Sell the benefits
As a Reservist you can bring the following benefits to your employer:
- Typically the scope of your Reservist responsibilities will far exceed those of your civilian job (for instance, you may have had 24/7 responsibility for your team and/or equipment in hazardous situations). Discussing such matters with your manager and HR department can help impress upon them your capabilities and potential for career progression.
- On average, you’ll be getting the equivalent of £9,000 worth of training every year, which will help develop your teamwork, leadership skills, organisational abilities and the ability to cope under pressure. All at no cost to your employer.
- Other examples of skills you may learn include health and safety awareness or contingency planning which again, can be directly applied to your civilian job.