When will COMMARES realise that RETENTION is an issue?

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by Jim30, Nov 22, 2006.

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  1. coming out of a recent discussion, I hear that the powers that be are looking at our recruiting syllabus AGAIN to revise new entry training.

    When are those in charge going to realise that its not recruiting we should be worried about but retention?

    The N/E is ok, but fast forward a few years and people start walking for a multitude of reasons. Why are we not seeing a huge effort by COMMARES to keep the people we're recruiting.

    What issues do people here think are retention issues? To me its turning up for drill nights, having nothing to do, then asking for a job to be told 'we have a job but 1LT needs to tell you about it'. Then to discover that it takes weeks for that to happen. All the while I'm wasting my Tue evenings for no discernibly good reason.

    Anyone else want to say whats affecting their retention?
  2. After finishing new entry training, everyone seems to be forgotten about - nobody knows where to go or what they will be doing on a drill night. This lack of organisation puts people off, and so they leave...
  3. Sorry in advance for participating but...

    In the RNXS whilst at HMS President we had a pre-arranged training timetable worked out well in advance by the Training Officer for each Branch - including encouraging members of the class to take a class themselves - a nerve-wracking experience. I had always assumed the RNR did the same as your Officers used to periodically train alongside us Ratings. Perhaps that's just a President thing?

    If not, then perhaps the RNR should learn some lessons from the now defunct RNXS and draw up a timetable for 12-16 weeks at a time and stick to it. An unpaid, voluntary, office job for some ex-RNXS'ers perhaps? :wink:

    When can I begin? :lol:

  4. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Looking good, that's what we already do....

    But this bit here is the problem. :)

    In my experience, training programmes are produced on a termly basis, but tend to be disrupted at short notice by: VIP visits, drill for short-notice events, VIP visits, mandatory drug/alcohol/security lectures, VIP visits, etc. In the last couple of years the turmoil affecting the various branches hasn't helped - the basis of training has been less than clear and training plans have been consequently disrupted.

    Sorry AAC, no vacancies - the Training Co-Ordinator is a role already occupied by one of the RN Permanent Staff.
  5. Damn! Will I never be able to wangle myself into a sailor's uniform legitimately! And I so fancied myself in the flared trousers... :( :wink: :lol:
  6. RNR Training: HMS Wessex developed a continuous circular JR training programme which enabled a new recruit to join yhe cycle at any time and continue until all modules were completed. Waiting to be "classed up" has long been a retention problem. RNXS and RNR training cannot be fairly compare as the personnel were quite different, the RNXS with lots of experience of life as opposed to the younger RNR recruit.
  7. No need to apologise I know some people have castigated you for daring to join a conversation on this forum....bollocks to them...!!

    One of the problems with the RNR are there are too many people in positions of importance that either:

    1) Are not of this planet
    2) Are simply in the RNR for the uniform
    3) Are not interested in listening to any views other than their own
    4) Find satisfaction in the RNR from listening to their own voices on a frequent basis whilst not having a fecking clue about life at the coal face

    All of which have a negative effect on retention.!!

    Any opinions are welcome good or bad they cant be any worse than some of the drivel Ive seen on here and heard from the horses mouth out and about the bizarres!
  8. :D
  9. Retention of our trained people is a greater challange when recruiting. How can the RNR compete for money from the RN when some Units are down in numbers to the 60s and 70s?
    If M&S had a store which was not selling enough they would close it down.
    Why are people leaving? Quite simple: They are not enjoying the RNR any more.
    Solution? Not quite so simple. Strategically make the RNR enjoyable.
    eg meaningful roles, structured training programmes giving a sense of achievement plus the "Navy ethos" (Flag Interco "Uniform" perhaps some sea time? Dangerous ground this)
  10. From the briefings that we have been having recently in our unit, we have been left in no doubt that the RNR have arrived at a point where something drastic has to be done to stop the rot before we sink without trace. In our unit there are plans afoot to drastically change our training structure from the old way of thinking, i.e. same old mind killing specialist branch training week after week, to more whole unit training which will hopefully give people the interest to remain in the RNR. The plans are still being formulatted at the moment but it is hoped to be in place for the New Year. We can only hope that it works, ony time will tell.
  11. I feel that part of the problem is 13 units coming up with 13 different plans to recruit, and retain, when it needs to be gripped centrally.

    Is part of the problem the greater importance placed on the role of the unit as a career manager rather than the branch? I am a big supporter of the need to have RU's as a focus on a week to week basis but surely the branch should be the dominant figure in the career management of the individual and should have a greater role to play in the authorisation of training.

    On the whole, XO's and SM's do not understand what is required in practical terms to get a new entry from AB2 to PO, or (perhaps more importantly) the need to stay current within a role. Are DIS and MRS examples of how training should be managed.

    It also strikes me as odd that a Unit should write a promotion report for an individual, when they are being promoted to carryout their operational role, not their unit role. How often have we seen people get promoted because the unit thinks they are a good egg, but the head of branch has had no input and may have a different view.

    Do we need a dual system. The unit remains’ the weekly focus, administering pay, travel, general naval and military training etc. And the Branch becomes responsible for career management? (Please don’t ask how I would put this into practice)
  12. It wasn't that long ago we were being told that attendance at the RU would not carry the same importance as it once did and that the training would all be done at Lead Schools. This was in order to reduce duplication and get some degree of consistency in the training. Also a lot of the training aids are costly and could only be available at Lead Schools. Seemed to make a lot of sense.

    However, as with all things, it has turned full circle and the RUs are again in the ascendancy. If you don't turn up for a couple of weeks, then you may get phonecalls or a letter asking where you are. I think the WUA has also had a part to play in this. However, apart from NGT, very little goes on in unit apart from the admin/travel/booking training side of things. If you have the national training programme for your branch and you know there is nothing happening for a month or so, should you have to attend the RU?

    You are spot on when it comes to promotion and advancement and the whole RORRS process. I've seen some people advanced solely due to their unit comtribution whereas in their operational role, they are sadly lacking.

    There should be some kind of balance in the reporting. If a rating's DO is not in the same branch and is relying on an informal chat with the rating prior to drafting the RORRS, the report will not be truly objective.

    I also think that some branches may struggle with any additional burdens.
  13. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    As a former DO, I only ever wrote someone up for promotion if there was objective evidence that they could hack it in their operational role - if someone was great in unit, but took the easy option ORT which merely ticked the boxes and didn't give them operational experience then their RORSS would reflect this fact. The impression I've gained of ratings promotion boards in recent years is that "timeservers and box tickers" are now less likely to gain automatic promotion and that the board is looking at where someone has undertaken their ORT as well as just having done the necessary courses.
  14. Retention and recruiting are the two most critical issues facing the RNR (and the RN & the TA etc).

    Unles something is done at the rush , there will not be an RNR in 5 years or maybe less. We are losing people for a number of reasons, not just because of dissatisfaction with training plans.

    There is a team headed up by Reservists looking at what we must do to stem the flow and recruit more. All areas of recruiting are being looked at, AFCOS, advertising material, brochures, budgets etc. If you have any sensible logical ideas on how we can improve both the recruitment and new entry training, pre and post RALEIGH, please drop me an email and i will make sure your idea gets looked at. Some units are excellent and are using really modern clever tactics, (FORWARD for example).
    Can you canvas your new entries and ask them how difficult/easy it was to join the RNR , let me have the horror and good stories i will appreciate it.

    Some units are excellent at recruiting using young fresh ideas and exeprienced tactics to get people to join us.

    However our base product (ie the RNR) isnt as easy to sell as other services, the RMR for example have a clearly defined role, we have many roles.

    Well done Rumration for givin us this forum
  15. Congrats to the OP on this thread, recruitment is not so much a problem but retention is. Part of the problem is the product sold during recruitment generally fails to live up to the reality.

    I spent 7 years in the RNR both JR & JO and the number of people I saw come and go amazed me.

    Exasperated at the continuing slow plod of change in the RNR, I resigned - it was a hard decision but it seems that little has changed in the couple of years since I walked, based on the very interesting posts here on RR.

    The RNR is still it seems fighting for a role as an overall organisation, though in some areas, some individuals do make an important contribution to the RN.

    The RUs should not be calling the shots in reservists careers and all training should be lead and carried out by the RN.

    A radical overall of the RNR is still needed and needs to be carried out by the RN if it wants the ethos of RNR/part time personnel to remain, though I wonder if deep down if the RN has the political will and capital to keep an RNR at all.

    I bet there are still plenty of people out there who would like to make a contribution on a part time basis but it must be a useful, worthwhile and engaging rather than the more common RU activities of trying to justify itslef.

    COMMARES must take a RADICAL approach to this and start with a blank sheet of paper and some blue sky thinking.
  16. My unit needs to do something about engaging with post-Raleigh New Entries.

    I passed out of Raleigh this summer, and it's taken until November to get into branch. (I was expecting this, however, and haven't exactly pushed the process along. Needed some time to sort my real life out!)) But I can well understand how New Entries feel disillusioned and plain hacked off if they come back all guns blazing (or tired and a bit pissed off) from Raleigh only to be ignored for several weeks. You go from having a clear aim and a challenge to, well, nothing. People are bound to wander off.

    Furthermore, I have had no feedback on my performance at Raleigh (possibly a good thing!) and no formal careers counselling. Instead, I poked around a few branches one drill night and then picked one.

    I appreciate that branches evolve constantly, but there are ways to deal with this. Senior staff could contribute to a centralised html document detailing their branch's current requirements for junior rates, with contact details for the DO, what the branch training entails, pros and cons of the branch, etc. This would survive changes among New Entry staff, who could take responsibility for encouraging branches to keep it up to date.
  17. Up the Rigging, have you approached your DO?

    As a DO we are one of the last to find out who has joined our team sometimes and sometimes only by accident.

    As a management team we are in my unit putting plans into place to stop that sort of thing happening so that people do have a joining interview with their DO. If you have not had one withing 2 months of joining your new branch ASK WHY NOT, even put in a request to the CO asking the question. :oops: Come on DO's lets meet the people

    If your unit does not have a system then it will be up to you to ask.

    Retention is the big issue right now and the navy has it wrong currently, however, the reserves also have it wrong trying to cling to old outdated usless jobs that are not any good to the modern navy. Only certain branches are any use for a career going forward. It then becomes a promotion issue, Do i promote the guy that volunteered to go to IRAQ but is average or the excellent member of the team who cannot committ 6 months unless called up!!

    I only recommend people i dont make that final decision

  18. I agree the product is difficult to sell. People think of the Navy and they think ships. We haven't got any. In the latest Maritime Reservist is a picture of one of the latest RNR recruiting posters. It looks very exciting and features ribs. We haven't got any. How many RNR ratings or officers will even go near a rib? I have been told by one GSSR rating that they aren't even allowed to do the course at Jupiter Point anymore.

    We do a lot of different things that the RN doesn't do and on the whole that has to be the way forward, rather than trying to do things the RN already does and can spend a lot more time training to do well. But the RNR has to realise that people join to do naval stuff, and we must factor that into training plans, whether or not it has anything to do with immediate operational requirements. From what I've heard talking to staff officers, I believe that they are starting to recognise that.

    A broader training is not only good for morale, it is means the person has a broader understanding of the client (the RN) and crucially it means that when the operational requirements change we aren't caught with our pants down. It takes a very long time to train people in the reserves, and we need to be training people not just for present conflicts but future ones as well.

    Part of the reason the transition from New Entry/Young Officer to branch is so difficult is that the shift is perhaps too sudden. It takes time for people to get into the branch system, and in the meanwhile they are sat around twiddling their thumbs and getting disheartened and bored. There should be a continuing training plan that runs through passing out of NE/Fleetboard and runs alongside the branch training plan, e.g. CLM, general naval training, etc, and people should be able to continue doing things while they are getting into the system. There should be an officer in each unit responsible for managing people in this limbo zone and making sure they don't fall between the floorboards getting from NE to branch.

    The same should be happening for people between being recruited and actually joining. The RMR recruits only once a year, and because of that they have a holding group with training for people who join at other times of the year. Well, people joining the RNR also often have to wait up to 6-9 months to get all the paperwork sorted out, especially for direct officer entrants who have to sit AIB, so why don't we have a similar system? Why are people being left to get bored and drop out? It is not only people coming off the street, it is people coming from the URNUs, people coming out of the RN, and it takes months and months for them to get into the system.

    But what I want to know is if we are expected to expand the reserves to whatever number by 2010, where is the budget for it? If we are understrength, surely there must be extra money that would be otherwise spent on the full strength that we can use on training, recruiting, retention, etc. to bring us up to full strength? This is surely the crucial issue. If we can barely afford an RNR on 70% strength, how can we afford an RNR on 100% strength?
  19. I agree, but in all honesty there should be no need to be in limbo. The process of transferring to a branch should be started well in advance of completing new entry training. We send people to their branch as soon as they complete NE. If something happens and it is not approved further down the line then we deal with it (has not happened yet), but it cuts out the dead period. This has caused a few bureaucrats to complain that it has not been processed properly, but better to take the risk that things will go according to plan rather than make them wait for official approval.
  20. I want to be positive, I really do! And I agree with virtually everything you have said but ... my unit (for example) didn't have enough officers to do the routine jobs let alone 'extra jobs' - recommend we lose this fixation that only officers can 'do management' (which I know was not your intention HH!).

    Sad thing is - this is noddy stuff and shouldn't need a forum to highlight areas that are failing (and have been suspect/failing for years!)

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