Do you know an employer who deserves Gold for its outstanding support for our Armed Forces?

Written by Stephen Crookbain, Director, Defence Relationship Management

It’s that time of year again! Until 15 April, nominations for a Gold Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award are open and we want to hear from you. The ERS awards are Defence’s highest honour to employers who are giving the most support to our Armed Forces.

The nomination process is really straightforward and you don’t have to be a member of the Armed Forces to be able to nominate.

So what do we mean by support? The criteria are wide ranging and include, for example, giving Reservists the extra leave they need to train and develop while they serve the country. Or perhaps it’s employment or related support for military spouses, those vital members of the Armed Forces team who give up so much to keep the Defence machine working. It might involve offering new career pathways for our talented service leavers and veterans, either within your own organisation or through your supply chain and industry networks. Or it can mean addressing some of the inequalities that those who serve or have served the country often face as a result of their military service. What sets Gold award winners apart is advocacy; their commitment to spreading the word about the value of the skills and qualities of service people in the workplace.

Our Armed Forces community makes a tremendous contribution to society and deserves the best possible support. Employers play a key role in delivering that support and today, over 2200 Armed Forces friendly organisations across the country are doing just that.

The continued support of employers is indispensable for our service leavers and veterans, our Reservists, wounded injured and sick, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and their families. Some employers are going well above and beyond their pledges in the Armed Forces Covenant and spreading the word about the business value of signing the Covenant among their supply chain or industry peers groups. These are the kinds of companies that we want to recognise with Gold.

Why nominate?

Being an ERS Gold award recipient gives winners membership of an exclusive networking club; a growing community of excellence represented by both large brands and small organisations, private and public. Whoever they are, wherever they are, they’re all experiencing the business value of partnering with Defence.

Winning ERS Gold means that an organisation makes itself much more attractive to the wealth of talent and skills among the community of Reservists, veterans and military spouses who, as recent evidence from Deloitte demonstrates, give tangible benefits to the business workforce. You can read the report here.

Winning ERS Gold gives organisations access to a growing number of other benefits such as discounted venue hire and access to military-led staff development and training.

Who can win?

Since 2014 when the scheme was launched, 80 employers have been awarded Gold through the scheme. Last year, the awards were presented by HRH Prince Harry, and by HRH Prince William the year before.

ERS Gold award winners couldn’t be more different. Some are big brands such as Tesco and BT, others are small traders employing fewer than 20 people, such as DJ Rees, a decorating services company in Wales and Combat Pest Control, which provides pest control services in London through a team entirely made up of veterans. Whatever its size, budget, location or trade, any company can win Gold.

So help us give recognition where it is due. Until 15 April, you can nominate here.

Silver Award nominations close on 15 March.