Editor’s Viewpoint

April 24, 2008
Positive Corporate Culture

Last month, I moderated a roundtable discussion at Aviation Industry Expo about finding and keeping mechanics and pilots. We had a room full of attendees, and the hour and a half long discussion offered a good discussion amongst the panelists and attendees.

We discussed how different companies are attracting mechanics and pilots and also shared information about some industry initiatives that are in place to encourage young people to consider careers in aviation.

Tongie Leonce, HR director for Gulfstream, shared that companies shouldn’t focus all their efforts on recruiting. They need to foster a positive corporate culture, one where employees feel needed and have opportunities for career advancement, in order to keep the employees it has.

After all, it’s costly to replace employees. The costs can add up quickly — the money needed to recruit (job boards, job fairs, classified advertising, etc.), the money and time necessary to train the employee, and the lost production from current employees who need to help train the new employee. The list goes on and on.

But retaining employees isn’t just about the money. Staffing.org, a human resources (HR) website, states, “Rarely is retention achieved through salary-based incentives alone. Most employees actively seek advancement, professional development, and a genuine work-life balance in addition to incentives and bonuses. Successful retention is best achieved by a proactive HR department that actively seeks out what employees want most, and also by discovering the reasons behind the departure of former staff the organization has failed to keep, but wishes it had.”

Does your company have a proactive HR department that “actively seeks out what employees want most?” Does it pay attention to why good employees leave? Does it provide employees with a genuine work-life balance?

Does your company foster a positive work culture that gives employees the opportunity to grow professionally? Does it offer competitive wages commensurate with job responsibilities? Or does it work with blinders on, focusing on finding new employees without trying to figure out why employees are leaving in the first place?

Last year, I talked to a training manager for a regional airline that shared his company experienced at least 25 percent turnover a year. The airline couldn’t afford to pay its employees more, so it lost a lot of them each year to competitors (even non-aviation ones) that were able to pay higher wages. If the airline would have just realized the true cost of turnover, it might have been more proactive in keeping the employees it had.

In his efforts to plug a hole in the dyke with his finger, could the little Dutch boy be in danger of failing to notice the failure of the entire water containment system?

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Joe Escobar