Two corporate travel executives explain how providers can adjust to shifting demands and preferences.
LAS VEGAS — You can control the costs of employee turnover if you recruit the right applicants, select the ideal candidate, train properly, and recognize performance regularly, two management experts told attendees March 13 at the International LCT Show.
Christina Davis and Chris Carroll from the LMC Group, an industry management consulting firm, presented a recruitment workshop that inspired and informed participants while audience members shared ideas that added more value and perspective.
Retaining employees results in a talent-rich workforce. Turnover can incur high expenses, such as time to conduct interviews and overtime pay if staff must cover an open position until a replacement can be hired.
Most of the time, you must advertise before you can find candidates to interview. Next is the cost of paying a trainer and the new employee. While the trainer is working with your new hire, it’s likely someone has to do the work the trainer otherwise does. If a key employee walks away after years of service, the knowledge lost is invaluable. You also can’t put a dollar value on the stress and strain for both you and your team while you are recruiting. That’s why you must hire the right person.
By writing a well-defined job description for each position within your company, you can help applicants decide whether they are the right fit. This is also a great place to share your mission statement so applicants gain a sense of your business expectations. A good description should include the qualities you are looking for, schedule information, special knowledge requirements, and other traits you prefer. This small step can weed out people who don’t fit what you are looking for.
NLA members can log on to the Resource Center of the NLA website and select “Knowledge Nuggets” for virtually every job position in the industry.
• Job Title, Department, Report To, and Classification
• Mission Statement or Company Overview
• Position Summary
• Key Responsibilities
• Required Knowledge and Skills
• Signature Block: Both the employee and the manager should sign and date this document.
• Working Conditions: Covers lifting, uniforms, environment etc.
To land the best talent, you must know what you are looking for. Here’s a list of things you should be looking for in a candidate:
• Attention to detail
• Passionate customer service skills
• Maintaining customer relationships
• Manage expectations of the company, clients, and co-workers
• Understanding the importance of service and addressing special requests
• Ability to handle upset clients with logical resolutions
• Understand company philosophy and culture
• Positive attitude
• Calm under pressure/stress
• Ability to sell and upsell clients on your company services
• Scheduling flexibility
• Desired educational level
• Proper licenses and endorsements
When creating your job description, make sure you write it to invite those with disabilities, specifying what work situations you can and cannot accommodate. This includes actions such as standing for long periods, lifting, walking, hearing, speaking, and vision. For example, if you include a statement that chauffeurs must be able to lift 50 pounds unassisted, it will weed out those with a bad back since it is an essential function of the job. A job at a desk could easily fit a wheelchair, so wheelchair users would qualify.
The worlds of the Internet and social media have given us options well beyond the once vast realm of classified newspaper ads. Don’t waste your money since very few people read the printed version of a newspaper. Some places you might try are online sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, Jobs.com, and Craigslist. Consider social media such as Facebook and Instagram as well. The social media platforms are free. Facebook offers an audience of more than half of the entire world’s population. Other places include your local Unemployment Office or even a sign outside your office.
• Unemployment Office
• Lawn signs
The key to a successful hire is in the interview questions and getting a candidate to get “candid’ with you. Forget about asking questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” or, “Name your five greatest strengths.” Applicants are armed and ready to deliver a prewritten dialogue for these questions. Instead, use behavioral questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer. What did you do, and how did it turn out?”
Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. A question like, “Tell me about a time when you had a very slow day at work. What did you do?” The goal is to get people to share their behavior patterns as opposed to their knowledge. Training programs can address learning the job. Behavior patterns illustrate whether a person has good work ethic and how they might behave on the job. Make sure to ask each applicant the same questions so you can compare apples to apples.
An effective training program will also determine how long an employee might stay. Feeling confident about a new job and like you care about doing things right will set the foundation for a new employee. Imagine buying something new that requires assembly before you can use it. Your new employee needs to be “assembled” before he/she can be useful. Try to remember when you were first hired at a new job and how lost you felt in your first few days.
Because training is expensive, make sure you have the resources dedicated to get it right the first time. That means a trainer who is laser focused in the process rather than annoyed that they got stuck with the new guy. A good training program should make the employee feel valued and important. They should understand their jobs and the expectations. They should be confident in their knowledge. Failing to train properly will cause a new employee to not fit in with their peers. They're not going to be much of an asset to your company. They will not be prepared to help others, whether that's your clients or their fellow co-workers.
Some people are visual, some are technical, and others are hands-on. Your training should incorporate a variety of teaching methods to keep the trainee engaged. Remember, your training program should not be written for your personal tastes for learning, but one that meets many different styles of learning. Some people take notes while others just listen and absorb. Content should be engaging and effective and can’t simply involve job shadowing. Incorporate videos, policy manuals, forms, and hands-on tasks.
Speaking of videos, rather than tie up a chauffeur to teach such basic functions as prepping a vehicle or performing a pre-trip inspection, consider recording it once using a GoPro camera or a simple cell phone video. Have your trainee view six reservations on paper that all look the same.
Leave out a digit on a phone number or the pick-up address on another. Have them find incorrect reservations to teach the importance of details. Incentives such as paying a $50 bonus for 100 reservations without a single error can be motivating. You might be saying, “It’s their job to get it right.” We agree, but it demonstrates just how important accuracy is to you while providing a perk for your new employee.
Create a quiz about each vehicle in your fleet such as passenger capacity, leather or cloth seats, gas or diesel, A/V equipment onboard, and other distinct features such as cargo bays. This can be part of ongoing training for long-term employees to make them even more knowledgeable. Don’t forget our strange language of terms such as FBO, POB, CIC, and other acronyms that must be taught so your new employee doesn’t feel as if they are in a foreign land. Shoot short videos of different sound systems in vehicles and how an iPod or iPhone can connect and play via cable or Bluetooth.
Role playing is great for tricky scenarios such as whether dogs are allowed to travel in your vehicles. Make sure your trainer is the right one for the job. Don't take for granted that somebody has the skills to be a trainer simply because they know how to do the job. Ask who you want to put in charge of training if they want to be a trainer. You need their buy-in to get the best out of them.
Retaining employees can be a challenge. There are many techniques, including the longstanding cash bonus. Nothing says “we care” more than a wad of cash for good behavior, achieving goals, or simply “caught doing something good.” Another great perk is providing discounts on company vehicles for personal use.
Working from home, half-day Fridays, or other variations of work schedules with full pay is a big hit with Millennials. Perhaps if only during inclement weather, you allow an employee to work from home in the interest of safety. This small gesture shows your office employees how much you truly care. Creating a flexible time-off program with pay is also very important to the younger generation of workers. This benefit is likely more important to them than the amount you pay them.
Two corporate travel executives explain how providers can adjust to shifting demands and preferences.
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