BP’s first Military Placement Programme (MPP) Discovery Day took place in February 2017, with a further Discovery Day later that year. SaluteMyJob chats to Charlotte Stacey, Early Careers Talent Partner at BP, about the day and she offers some valuable top tips for employers looking to host their own Insight Day for Service leavers.
Greater exposure to the military talent pool
BP’s Discovery Day was designed to give Service leavers a broad understanding of BP’s supply and trading business and also BP’s Military Placement Programme. Charlotte explained: “With our Military Placement Programme, we only have one intake per year and I have a number of people contacting me regularly wanting to know more about the opportunities we have, so we felt if we held a Discovery Day, then Service leavers can come in and get a real experience of what it is like to work for us, rather than trying to put them in touch with individuals within the business on an ad-hoc basis. We also felt although we have our Military Programme, we also have lots of other vacancies in our organisation so if an individual wanted to come and learn more, this was a great chance to do so. Hosting Insight Days are great way for the business to get exposure to the military talent pool.”
The application process
There were 25 candidates who attended BP’s first Discovery Day. Charlotte said they wanted to keep the event small so they gave individuals a personal experience. Service leavers were able to apply to attend by sending their CV and were selected on a first come first serve basis. BP were looking for individuals looking for entry level roles within energy trading and people who were looking to start employment in the next six months, with any academic background from any of the tri-Services. BP advertised their Discovery Day on their website, through the CTP and their social media channels.
Itinerary for a half-day military insight event
- Welcome: Welcome, introduction and safety briefing, which was done by someone who has completed our Military Placement Programme.
- Meet Andy Milnes: Our CEO welcomed candidates and he talked about our business and about how we value the skills Service leavers have. He told candidates he feels passionately that Service leavers have valuable transferable skills that we as an organisation can benefit from.
- The business: We then had an introduction to the supply and trading business using an animation video.
- Interactive session: An individual from our strategy team came and did a working group session on our business and what we do.
- Group discussions: Each group had somebody who had been on our Military Placement Programme, or an ex-military employee and someone from our HR team. We did 10 minute sessions and then the BP individuals rotated around each of the groups. This gave people the chance to ask questions they may not have felt comfortable doing in the wider group.
- Trading simulation: This was done in pairs and they were given a laptop and we simulated a period of trading, which gave people the opportunity to really experience what a trader does. We also had tours of the trading centre so they really got to experience the business and what it was like to work here.
- Closing Questions
Offering veterans first hand experience of your company
Charlotte said offering Service leavers the opportunity to attend these types of events were important so they can get first-hand experience of what it is like to work for an organisation and find out more about their values and culture. Charlotte added: “It’s a good opportunity for Service leavers to think about what they want from their next role and we hope that will mean the quality of applications we get for our Military Placement Programme are stronger. We hope that when individuals come along to this day and then apply for the programme, they will be really committed to what we do here.”
Charlotte's top tips for hosting a Military Insight Day
- Have a clear agenda for the day: Candidates will want to know what time to arrive, what to wear, what is expected of them and a clear itinerary of the day.
- Have interactive elements within the day: This is important. Just sitting and listening will not give Service leavers the level of information around an organisation’s culture and their values. Service leavers need to interact with people, walk around the building and have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Introduce a fun element: Our trading stimulation is a great example of doing just that. It gave people a real insight into the business and what we do on a daily basis. I think, especially if you have only been in the military, it is important to explain what people actually do in their day-to-day job roles and this is a great way of doing so.
- Have an ex-military employee attend and a leader: Having an ex-military employee attend is more important than a leader within the business as Service leavers will be able to relate to them. However, if you can have a leader there to articulate to Service leavers why they are valued within the organisation, this will make people feel like they could be successful here. This is really important for these individuals as they have already had successful careers in the military and want to be in an organisation that acknowledges their skills - having a leader articulate that is very valuable but is not imperative.
- Think about size of Insight Day: This depends on what you aim is but because our programme is small, it wouldn’t make sense for us to have 100 people attend as there wouldn’t be a good chance that those individuals would secure an opportunity with us. Making it personal and giving a real life experience is important.
- Get the business excited and interested: The people who interact with military individuals within the business is key, they must be interested and enthusiastic about this talent pool.