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On Armed Forces Day 2023, see why everyone benefits from hiring veterans



In an ever-evolving business landscape, companies are constantly seeking ways to gain a competitive edge and drive growth. One often overlooked and untapped resource that could help these companies do just that lies within the veteran community.

Veterans acquire a wealth of transferable skills during their military service which are finely tuned through rigorous training, real-world experiences and high-pressure situations. In a recent YouGov survey, employers cited work ethic (62%), resilience (54%), and dedication (53%) as the top characteristics that former UK armed forces personnel would bring to their workplace.

Around 16,000 people leave the UK armed forces every year, creating a talent pool full of exceptional individuals who can drive innovation, foster collaboration, and contribute to the success of the company, providing businesses with that all-important competitive edge.

Employee-led networks dedicated to ex-service personnel can make a huge difference in the experiences of veterans and the companies that hire them.  At Unum, this takes the form of our weSERVE network, which I’m proud to be a sponsor of.

The weSERVE network was created by the veterans we employ to provide community, connection, and a safe place for those who’ve served their country. They advocate and share insights across the business, ensuring we remain an armed forces-friendly employer that welcomes the benefits veterans bring to the table. As the Executive Committee sponsor, I’m responsible for keeping up to date with the activities of the network, and most importantly, ensuring their voice is heard by those at the very top.

weSERVE also identifies opportunities for community engagement, including managing Unum UK’s longstanding partnership with Combat Stress, the leading UK charity for Veteran mental health. This enables us to also support veterans beyond those we are privileged to employ at Unum.

We regularly hold fundraising events for Combat Stress, including our annual March in March, and Unum UK employees have run marathons in the charity’s name. One employee even completed the London Marathon chained to a medicine ball, symbolising the difficulties veterans can experience with their mental health as well as the stigma attached to it.

This is such an important message as some employers may be deterred from hiring veterans due to preconceptions about their mental health. However, of the 1 in 4 adults in the UK who will experience mental ill health in their lifetime, the vast majority are in the civilian population. Up to a quarter of job, candidates may therefore experience mental illness; it is not just an issue some veterans struggle with.

The unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds of veterans enrich our workforce and create a more dynamic and inclusive environment that benefits us all. We recognise the immense value that veterans bring to the business and are committed to leveraging their experience in the next chapter of their careers.

Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered and Head Office: Milton Court, Dorking, Surrey RH4 3LZ. Registered in England company number 983768.

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