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26 June 2024

Smiths Group is committed to supporting both our colleagues and our communities and I am very proud to be part of our Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG). 

I am the Smiths Champion for VERG, representing all the uniforms across the globe of our employees who are Veterans or serving reservists - of which we have many.  This feels particularly poignant to me as I now end my military career where I have served in both the Royal Navy and latterly in the Royal Navy Reserves.

The purpose of the VERG is to assist in the recruitment, onboarding and unification of the Veteran community within Smiths, with the aim of strengthening our organisational culture in this important area. It has three key aims:

  • to hire veterans
  • to help with the transition from ‘salutes to handshakes’
  • to foster a veteran community within Smiths. 

During this UK Armed Forces week, Smiths is holding a special Armed Forces event, where we will be signing the Armed Forces Covenant, demonstrating our support for this community and celebrating the role that these key contributors play.

The Covenant is defined as “A promise by the nation that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated fairly and not face disadvantages when seeking to access employment, public or private goods and services in the UK. The Covenant also provides for special provision to be made for those who have given the most, where this is justified such as disability or bereavement.”

For me, the Armed Forces represent a wish to act as a force for good, help those unable to defend themselves and ultimately ‘Make the world a safer place.’ This is the Smiths Detection mission statement and aligns with both my values and those of Smiths Detection employees - it is something that binds us all in our many endeavours. I am proud to work for a global company where we have a shared humanity and common purpose.

Veterans bring many positive attributes to business – a view supported by research. Deloitte's study on Veteran Talent in 2018 found that companies saved approximately 20% on training costs due to their existing skills and quick adjustment to new roles. Research from the Centre for Military Health Policy highlights that Veterans excel in roles requiring leadership and critical thinking, their ability to operate under pressure and a disciplined approach to problem-solving can lead to improved operational efficiency and innovation. 

However, the transition from military service to civilian life can represent a profound and challenging phase for Veterans. Having spent years in a structured and disciplined environment, service members develop a unique sense of identity that is deeply shaped by their experiences in the Armed Forces. As they move into a new career, these veterans face a critical need to establish a new personal identity and redefine their purpose, bridging their skills to the business world all whilst sometimes dealing with trauma or facing misunderstanding and stereotypes.

More positively, relationships and belonging - for example with colleagues, or through a dedicated resource group like the VERG here at Smiths, are more likely to promote wellbeing and improve workplace culture. The sense of connection, fostered by meaningful workplace relations, can lead to an increased capacity to work under pressure, an improved sense of meaning at work and can normalise vulnerability and mental ill-health. We have many excellent ways of helping Veterans for example, our mentoring programme is a proactive way of providing support. 

More broadly, the VERG aims to encourage managerial effectiveness, leadership development and communication with Veteran employees globally across Smiths Group, provide onboarding and transition support where we can share knowledge and help them to navigate a complex cultural landscape.

I look forward to celebrating our Veterans and reservists this UK Armed Forces week and am proud to champion the VERG at Smiths.

Phaedra Gibson is Head of Health, Safety and Sustainability and the Master Black Belt for our Smiths Excellence System at Smiths Detection. 

Commander Gibson 2
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For me, the Armed Forces represent a wish to act as a force for good, help those unable to defend themselves and ultimately ‘make the world a safer place.’

Phaedra Gibson
Head of Health, Safety and Sustainability and the Master Black Belt for our Smiths Excellence System at Smiths Detection
AT SEA RN

Phaedra at sea

VERG MAY 2024 Tagline

We are proud to support the Veteran community at Smiths

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