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Photo by Capstar Chauffeurs Limited of London, U.K. www.capstarchauffeurs.com.
Blame it on the American Dream to be your own boss and own a piece of Americana. The reality of a serious shortage of chauffeurs proves the business dream can bring obstacles. In 2009, the limo industry reduced its labor pool by 35% on average nationwide.
And the number of owners of chauffeured transportation companies fell from a record high of about 11,000 in 2007 to a record low of under 7,000 by 2010.
Today, business demand, especially in groups and corporate travel, has risen to the same level as pre-recession 2007, yet the number of owners has not kept pace. We are faced with two unique challenges: First, we must keep the people we have and avoid turnover. Second, we need to recruit and train and do it under extreme pressure in an elusive employee market. Here are some ways to encourage your chauffeurs and staff to stay:
Minimize employee turnover: Employees who feel a sense of ownership of the organization are less likely to leave. Create a sense of ownership by giving responsibility to employees. Make their duties look significant and not just another activity. Express appreciation regularly. Make everyone feel they contributed to successes. Employees who feel appreciated and successful are less likely to leave.
Listen closely: Money is one of the least common reasons for turnover, so if you are experiencing a high turnover, throwing money at the problem will not make it go away (although it might hide the problem for a while). Debrief employees who quit and find out the “why” behind their decisions. If you continue to allow the employees to leave without any efforts to stop them, you create a culture that becomes the norm in your business.
Give awards and rewards for achievement: Awards can be items such as employee pins for good attendance or cash incentives for increased department productivity. You also can offer some form of extra pay as a reward, or free company merchandise. However, stay away from incentive programs that pit employees against one another, as the resulting competition can yield tension and bad faith.
Cross-training: Many employees eventually get bored and like the challenge of learning new skills. Having employees who know more than just their jobs benefits you and them. If you lose an employee, you have others who can step in and take their place. If a job is phased out, the employee can move to a new area with acquired skills. Cross-training also looks more appealing when employees understand it’s the way of career survival in today’s workplace.