Holding On to Good Help
A back-to-basics approach can ensure your employees are satisfied with their careers
By Deborah Siday
Ask any manager in any industry what his or her biggest business challenge is today, and chances are the answer you will receive is, "Finding and keeping good employees." The challenges facing the charter airline industry are even more complex due to the competition from major airlines for the same workforce. Search the Internet, bookstores, and business publications and you will find thousands of articles and books purporting to have the magic solution to this pressing problem. The truth is that I have been to the top of the mountain, and I can tell you that there is no one answer to solve all your recruitment and retention problems. There is, however, a solution. It is a mix of creativity, hard work, knowing what people value, and, most importantly, good, basic management techniques.
What the numbers say
The recruitment environment has changed drastically since the early 1990s. Our economy is healthy, and unemployment nationwide is around 4 percent. There are currently 15 percent fewer employees entering the workforce. More jobs need to be filled with a decreasingly available workforce. Combine these statistics with the fact that 40 percent of employees vowed to find a better job as part of their New Year's resolution and it's enough to make the average manager think about giving up and going to the Caribbean to become a beachcomber. Anytime we turn on the TV, radio, or hook up to the Internet, we are bombarded with ads telling us it is time to find a new and better job. So how does the average employer compete?
Selling the sizzle
It all starts with your recruitment efforts. A successful recruitment program involves the use of good marketing techniques. It's about knowing how to sell your company and setting yourself apart from your competitors as an employer of choice. Look for new ways to position your ads. Find out what your employees do with their spare time and use that information to position your employment ads. Companies are placing ads in the sports pages, on popular radio stations, and on pop-up ads on Internet sites. Don't ignore your best source for recruitment: your own employees. Offer referral bonuses to your employees when they recruit their friends. Referral bonuses range from $50 to $3,000 - usually paid when the new employee completes training or 90 days of employment. Some companies use escalating bonuses, for example, $100 for the first referral, $200 for the second referral, and so on. Successful referral bonus programs incorporate payments that are quick and significant. When compared to traditional advertising, referral bonus programs cost less and the results are more effective.
Recruiting is a full-time job
A successful recruitment strategy plans for the future. Identify your company's staffing needs for the next two years. Develop a target profile and answer the questions, "Who are they?" and "Where will we find them?" Go to the source for the next generation of skilled employees. Form partnerships with trade and high schools. Perhaps you can work with the instructor to create a program to train aviation mechanics. Visit flight schools, offer to talk to the students about the industry and conduct tours of your facility. Visit your local high schools and talk to the students about opportunities in the airline industry for mechanics, aviation technicians and pilots. Participate in work-study programs at your local high school.
Don't settle for less
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