By Scott Sargent
This year, Canadian Pacific Railway was honored as a winner of the Gold Quill Award of Merit – Military Recruitment Program Advertising Campaign.
A big part of that program leads directly to Rory Thompson. Although he has held six different positions within the organization, his current title is manager of learning and development and military relations. Prior to that, Thompson spent 11 years as a British Army Officer during which he spent time in Signals and Communications, Secret Intelligence, Airborne operations and his final unit being in Canada at British Army Training Unit Suffield, which eventually led him to Calgary and CP.
Thompson was recognized for his efforts in assisting veterans to consider potential careers at CP and was promoted to manager of learning and development and military relations. In this role, he is responsible for recruiting and retaining veterans at CP.
Speaking with Thompson recently via Zoom, he describes his job as twofold. His first step is to walk potential candidates through the process. Thompson also understands this may be intimidating for persons who may not have had a formal ‘sit-down’ interview in quite a while. The second aspect of his job is to translate what abilities a veteran may bring to the table.
“I live by the mantra you need veterans to recruit veterans,” says Thompson.
His ability to ‘speak the language’ of the military is a valuable one and allows him to be the point of contact for relationships with various units, both regular and reserve.
“CP not only values veterans and their experience but we also have a long and great history with the military as well.”
I also asked Thompson specifically about the campaign which led to the Gold Quill recognition.
“Our marketing campaign is multi-faceted,” says Thompson. “Purely just because we’re trying to get as much reach out there as possible. In addition, we are also trying to cater it for Canadian and US veterans because we have 3000 employees in the US,” he adds. Thompson also mentioned that their social media campaign had the biggest impact overall.
The focus behind the campaign was to appeal to veterans transitioning out of military service and that CP may be a potential fit worth exploring. To expand their reach and branding, CP has expertly partnered with companies like GI Jobs, and VIQTORY, who offer a clear understanding of the veteran demographic.
Forming these various partnerships has also been a vital part of the overall picture. Working with organizations such as the Military Museums, the “Spin for a Veteran” charitable initiative in support of Homes for Heroes foundation and even specific military units themselves are how CP can work with the veteran community.
These campaigns, combined with efforts on their website resulted in 1.25 million impressions across the USA and Canada in 2019, and drove more than 170,000 veterans to CP website. Additionally, CP also purchased advertising with specific publications such as the Canadian Military Family Magazine.
It is worth noting that CP was awarded a 2020 Military Friendly gold employer designation and listed as a Top 10 Employer, ranked fourth overall. Certainly, this is no small achievement but also a testament to the efforts of a company dedicated to helping many in the veteran community transition to the civilian workforce.