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Reflections on transitioning from military service, and the value of honour and commitment in the workplace

“Forces-friendly” employers promote opportunities for military veterans and their families while attracting high-value associates.

Transitioning from a military career into the civilian workforce is a challenge faced by more than 16,000 veterans in the U.K. each year. In the U.S., more than 200,000 veterans transition annually.  

For companies, networking groups can provide a much-needed platform for veterans seeking support, job training, career guidance and fellowship. At Conduent, for example, our global Employee Impact Group “Conduent Salutes!” leverages the leadership and experience of our associates who are military veterans, military reservists, spouses and family, and supportive members of the armed forces community.

Likewise, here in the U.K., communities such as Veterans in Parking, and its U.S. counterpart, Veterans in Parking & Transportation can be safe spaces where veterans, spouses and military families offer support for new employees to interact with immediate commonality, irrespective of service or country.

Prioritising support for veterans in the workforce

For organisations, signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a powerful way to showcase the level of support your organisation offers. This covenant represents a pledge to acknowledge that those who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness, respect, and equal opportunities.

This year, Conduent achieved the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in recognition of being a “forces-friendly” employer, including adopting policies that specifically support the military community.

My transition to the private workforce

I know first-hand how challenging a transition to civilian life can be. My military career started at 16 years old, just a few months after school. I entered basic training for the Royal Navy the same September that my friends and peers were entering college.

My eight years of service in the Royal Navy were some of the most challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling years of my life. During those years I transitioned into a confident, strong, disciplined young adult. Like many who have served, my military service is fundamental to my identity, and it has shaped the evolution of my life ever since.

After eight years of service, I started a new career path and landed at Spur Information Solutions, now Conduent. Civilian life came with challenges. During my time in the forces, I had access to doctors and dentists, my meals were prepared, and laundry finished when I couldn’t do so at home. I enjoyed access to state-of-the-art sports facilities and clubs to pass the downtime. Unlike civilian life, the military runs as its own eco-system.

Looking back, I feel I was lucky to have joined an organisation that supported veterans and offered the additional resources needed to help my transition from military routines, including community support and opportunities for advancement. I had the benefit of my family unit, who supported me in completing tasks I was unaware were needed, such as signing up to the local doctors and dentist. After my service, I remained within the area in which I was stationed, so I had no issues with relocating or losing the network of friends I had made over my time in the military. Lacking any one of these resources could have led me in a completely different direction.

Special risk factors for veterans

Military personnel and veterans face unique challenges to their mental health. Being exposed to highly stressful situations, long periods away from home, and difficulty of adjusting to civilian life can all affect mental health. The most common mental health problems for ex-Service personnel are alcohol abuse and dependence, depression, and anxiety disorders. These problems may take years to surface.

Military personnel often have difficulty asking for help, feeling they should be able to manage on their own. They could feel embarrassed, fear criticism or lack of understanding in their communities or families. It is worth noting that rates of mental illness amongst UK ex-Service personnel are generally lower than that of the wider population: one-in-five compared to one-in-four in the general population, although we need to question how many of these people are not asking for help at all.

Opportunity leads to value, not charity

I wish to call on all companies, organisations and communities to spread awareness of the challenges faced by military groups, and help ensure that they have fair and equal opportunities in the workplace. Offering a clean transition into civilian life will play a major part in a veteran’s future success. In return, they will support the growth of your business through the strong core values, tangible skills, broad knowledge, and rich experiences gained during military service

Ready to join a culture where you can thrive both personally and professionally? Visit our careers page and discover opportunities to join a team that fosters career growth, a great work environment, and paid time off. Learn more at

About the Author

Dean Fennell-Connell leads business strategy for Conduent Transportation’s U.K. parking, kerbside management and camera enforcement services. With over 13 years of parking industry experience, he supports clients and technology suppliers by identifying and integrating solutions that enhance operations and each customer’s experience. Dean recently won the British Ex-Forces in Business ‘Young Leader of the Year’ award and leads on the UK team supporting the Armed Forces Covenant commitments and is the chair of the Conduent Employee Engagement Group for military affiliates.

Profile Photo of Dean Fennell-Connell