Filling the skills gap - Operations

OPERATIONS manager roles can prove to be an ideal fit for ex-forces personnel who come ready-programmed with high standards and an inbuilt ability to multitask under the greatest pressure.

It’s an operations manager’s job to make sure an organisation is running as well as it possibly can, with a smooth and efficient service which meets the expectations and needs of customers and clients.

It is a broad role, and the specific responsibilities will vary between different companies, making it ideal for service leavers who will have extensive experience of working within teams, as well as great communication skills.

Operations manager is also a highly responsible role, often with intense pressure to perform well every day. This means ex-military personnel who are accustomed to working in high-pressure environments make great candidates for these roles.

Operations managers will specifically have a deep knowledge of the operations of a professional services business, along with experience in project management and current knowledge on best practice project management methodologies.

They will have an in-depth understanding of business and project processes, structures and control requirements and be an excellent communicator with the ability to interact with a variety of diverse stakeholders. They will also have an in-built ability to get things done.

Relevant military hard skills for operations roles

  • P30 Practitioner/PMP Certification OR Prince2 Qualified.
  • Lean processes and continuous improvement - Six Sigma, 5S, TPM, SPC or SMED.
  • IT skills.
  • Risk and crisis management experience.
  • Strong leadership and people management skills.
  • Be able to maintain and improve quality standards.
  • Be able to maintain and improve health and safety standards.
  • Be able to work to key performance targets.

Relevant military soft skills for operations roles

  • The ability to get things done.
  • Experience of working within and/or leading a team.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Flexibility and reliability.
  • The ability to multitask and prioritise.
  • The ability to understand complex problems, develop practical solutions and implement them.
  • Calmness under pressure.

Specialised military operations skills

Military operations specialists can be skilled in the following areas:

  • Commanding and managing a team of fighting specialists and developing their skills to a high level of competence and readiness.
  • Keeping ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons and other equipment operational.
  • Training and developing subordinates of all ranks and bringing them up to a high state of operational readiness.
  • Preparing or modifying operational strategies and plans after identifying objectives and desired outcomes. 
  • Motivating and leading subordinates to achieve objectives, often in difficult and dangerous conditions.
  • Allocating equipment, personnel and resources effectively to achieve clear objectives.
  • Communication effectively with all levels, both orally and in writing through briefings, operational reports and presentations. 

Civilian operations roles for ex-military personnel

Ex-Armed Forces are well-used to working within operational roles at all levels, typically in high-tempo jobs with widely varying responsibilities. They are flexible, responsible and communicate effectively with both seniors and subordinates in order to deliver clearly identified objectives and results.

Specific roles which would suit ex-forces personnel include:

  • Site operations managers for house-building or construction companies;
  • Security operations centre managers;
  • Transport operations managers;
  • Logistics or distribution centre managers.