Operations

What You Can Do About The Chauffeur Shortage

Photo by Capstar Chauffeurs Limited of London, U.K. www.capstarchauffeurs.com.

Photo by Capstar Chauffeurs Limited of London, U.K. www.capstarchauffeurs.com.

Photo by Capstar Chauffeurs Limited of London, U.K. www.capstarchauffeurs.com.
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.

Don’t hire out of desperation: Do not just hire an employee because you needed someone to fill the position yesterday. That is what temporary employees are for. If you are looking to hire someone long term, take some time to do your research. Gather as much information as possible about a job applicant. In addition to the usual HR and legal information, be sure to get personal and business references. And call the references. You are never too busy.

Tell them how they are doing: Many employees almost always know when they are doing a job wrong. However, these same employees rarely ever hear from their employers when they are doing their jobs right. Encourage your employees by being kind and telling them how good of a job they are doing. They will be more likely to accept any advice on how to improve their work later on.

Level the workload: Employees often leave companies because they feel overworked. It’s frequently less expensive to hire an additional person, even part-time, than it is to replace a seasoned staff member. Often we complain about an individual’s performance but no action is taken. That hurts existing employee morale as well.

Do exit interviews: Labor laws suggest that we cannot hold a person from leaving. When an employee goes, he/she just has to go. It will be beneficial to know the cause of why the employee chose to leave. Possible factors may be: a better job offer, pursuit for growth, poor colleague relationships, below average compensation, dislike for the nature of work, etc. Knowing what problems to address, and taking action on them, eventually will lessen turnover rates in the future.

Recruit your ideal candidate: Post a job description that tells potential employees the exact requirements of the position. Even more useful is the process to develop the job description internally and the behavioral characteristics of your ideal candidate. Assemble a team of people who represent the best qualities of the people who hold the same or a similar position. Include the hiring manager. In this age of online social and professional networking, chances are you and your employees are instantly connected to hundreds, and even thousands, of potential candidates. Tap into this potential audience on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to name just a few.

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, hiring chauffeurs, human resources, LCT Publisher, Sara Eastwood

Comments ( 2 )
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  • limowire

     | about 4 years ago

    Stewart, you hot the nail on the head there my friend. Chauffuers need at a minimum an association or at best a union. Most companies still provide lousy pay and zero benefits, yet they all expect professionals on McDonald worker wages.

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