Improving the quality of life for sailors is the secret behind what makes the Royal Canadian Navy, one of Canada’s top employers, according to Forbes.
Coming in at 120, the RCN was one of a handful of Government Services that made it on Forbes’ annual list that identifies companies that “do the most for their employees.”
“This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Naval Staff to adapt and implement strategies, policies, and frameworks that support and enable our sailors to excel – particularly those policies that have a direct impact on our people,” said Commander of the RCN, VAdm. Ron Lloyd.
The RCN is using this achievement as a platform to inform Canadians considering a career in the RCN about how much life in the Navy today has changed.
“Substantial progress in the areas of health, diversity, and inclusion, supporting family members and quality of life at sea have contributed to the Royal Canadian Navy being one of Canada’s top employers,” said Ben Costen, communications advisor with the RCN.
In fact, the RCN has developed particular initiatives that improve the quality of life, training and recruiting of their sailors. Specifically, policies have been designed to emphasize a culture of resilience, improve physical fitness and total-health wellness; efficiently monitor and address time away; enhance and modernize the RCN training system; enable Wifi and other technologies at sea, and focus recruitment on diversity and inclusion.
“This mindset has enabled our sailors to deliver outstanding effects on global operations from the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the Gulf of Guinea, Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean to the Arabian Gulf, Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin,” added the RCN Commander.
A new Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Physical Performance Strategy called “BALANCE” has been adopted by the RCN to ensure sailors stay fit even while at sea.
The strategy focuses on all aspects of well-being, including physical activity, performance, nutrition, sleep/rest, and injury prevention.
“The RCN is fully supportive of the CAF’s Physical Performance Strategy. It’s not just about physical fitness, it recognizes that we must foster a culture that values all aspects of health, promotes measures to prevent harm, increases wellness, and provides care and support to the ill and injured,” said LCdr. Tracy Versteeg at the Directorate of naval personnel and training (DNP&T) in Ottawa.
To support BALANCE, the RCN has created dedicated gym space on ships; established the Navy Bike Ride; the Navy Run at CFB Halifax and Esquimalt; Maritime Forces Pacific’s Health and Wellness program; studies looking at the sleep habits and fatigue of sailors; healthier menu options at bases and in ships; and new steam ovens aboard ships that offer healthier eating options.
To ensure diversity and inclusion are a part of RCN operations, the Navy has reworked its recruitment strategies with the goal of attracting more women, members of visible minorities, and First Nations people.
To attract new recruits, the RCN has new programs such as a 360-degree virtual reality walk-through of ships and submarines, videos and websites that highlight occupations and availability, enrolment allowances for applicants with qualified previous experience, job fairs and school visits.
After joining, the RCN ensures education, occupational management, and training help to add the most value to a sailor’s career.
There are also several initiatives in place to ensure sailors are better connected with their families and families are better-taken care of. For example, Wifi connections will be included in the fleet of Halifax-class frigates and Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessels. Therefore, sailors will be able to connect with their friends and families.
Additionally, families are taken care of through resources available at naval bases, and personalized assistance is offered to families by offering childcare, second language training, arts, and sports activities, and more.
Also, the number of days that personnel are away from their families is tracked, and Flag Officer oversight is required for those sailors who will deploy for more than 180 days in a 12-month period.
Then, to assist families in making long-term plans, leadership has ranged out in the operational planning schedule and de-classified the schedule itself.
RCN leadership believes the various new initiatives not only improve the quality of life for sailors and those Canadians wishing to join, but also the families that serve alongside their sailor.
“We have a vibrant, healthy naval force that our sailors are proud of,” says VAdm Lloyd. “As we look forward, we must continue to adapt so that we enable and support our sailors and their families to ensure we remain: Ready to Help, Ready to Lead, Ready to Fight.”
To view the list visit Forbes website.