Operations

How To Attract The Right People And Keep Them Busy

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 26, 2019

Vince Schneider of JED Transportation in St. Louis, Mo. takes advantage of his location and advertises the fact his company is always hiring. (Photo: LCT)

Vince Schneider of JED Transportation in St. Louis, Mo. takes advantage of his location and advertises the fact his company is always hiring. (Photo: LCT)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — If you work in the luxury ground transportation industry, you know staffing is an issue no matter where you run your operation. Without quality employees, you run the risk of losing business. They are the first point of contact for clients, and will therefore provide them with the first impression of what type of operation you run.

During the 2019 International LCT Show session “Peaks And Valleys Of Staffing: How To Maximize Your Human Capital” in March, Laura Canady of CLT Express Livery in Charlotte, N.C.; Vince Schneider of JED Transportation in St. Louis, Mo.; and Mike Muhsin of KLTS Limousine in San Diego, Calif. presented on the best ways to go about attracting and retaining talent.

Online, In Person

Schneider said his company has much success online with social media and job search sites like Indeed. They blast out information at least every other week about open positions within their office.

“The key is getting people in the door,” he said. “We're always hiring. We will hire a good, dynamic individual and try to figure out where they fit in the organization. We have a lot of folks at JED who have worked in four or five different positions since they've joined the company.”

JED’s headquarters is in an industrial office area on the backside of the airport in St. Louis that also is home to large distribution centers. Schneider said they’ve purchased signs that say “always hiring.”

“We get a lot of foot traffic with UPS and FedEx people delivering things. A lot of them have asked about part-time work and we love to get part-time people.”

The company has a lot of retail business and a diverse fleet, so there are many options for potential chauffeurs. “We like and need people who will work weekends and evenings to supplement their income. We've had some good success converting delivery drivers to chauffeurs,” he said. He also mentioned Craigslist and looking for people around town who may be interested.

For example, one of their affiliate managers used to work the counter at the vet’s office where Schneider’s wife takes their pets. “She was very successful as a reservationist and then became our affiliate manager and took on a lot of responsibilities. We had a bank teller who worked at one of the banks we do business with and she came on, was full-time, and successful in our organization. Just be aware everywhere you go — if you're at a restaurant, bar, anywhere people seem to exude customer service — we're always looking for those types of individuals in our operation,” he explained.

Mike Muhsin of KLTS Limousine in San Diego, Calif. discussed incentives he provides to entice staff to recommend possible new employees. (Photo: LCT)

Mike Muhsin of KLTS Limousine in San Diego, Calif. discussed incentives he provides to entice staff to recommend possible new employees. (Photo: LCT)

Muhsin uses Facebook ads for job postings and includes a $500 referral bonus for all CDL drivers. “We seem to be getting people that don’t even live in San Diego, but in the Orange County and L.A. area applying and really interested.” The referral bonus is given after six months.

Schneider says he gives referrers a reward in staggered amounts: $100 upfront, $250 a short time later, and then the last $150 if the candidate stays at least 90 days.

Make The Most Of Each Employee

Muhsin trains every person on his team to be able to do any position — dispatch, reservations, or sales. Sometimes you may discover one position is a better fit for someone who was originally hired to do something else.

“I think it's important once you hire somebody, they don't have to be assigned to that certain role. Instead, you should bring them in, train them, and see where they fit best within your organization.”

Training is ongoing, and happens every 90 days. “Even chauffeurs who have been with us for five or six years meet with our chauffeur manager for one hour in the office to go over matters like what's new or the protocol for specific accounts. There’s a lot of training material out there, but you have to tailor it to your own business.”

He’s had people come in from other companies only to discover they are only a driver…not a chauffeur. “It's important to train them to tailor to your business because they're the face of the company. If that chauffeur doesn't perform to specific standards, you will lose clients.”

If you’re moving into the coach business, you’re well aware of the difficulty in finding skilled bus drivers. “I found it was almost impossible to hire a decent CDL driver willing to drive a bus and be a chauffeur at the same time,” Muhsin said. Therefore, he started to promote within his company. He took five of his chauffeurs driving sedans and SUVs, put them into a training program, and paid for the entire program and the time it took them to complete it.

Schneider has a Four Seasons Hotel in his market with an excellent in-house training program on their approach to customer service to client experiences and he sends his chauffeurs through it.

“They're generous enough to allow us and they like the fact we're interested in learning more about the property and how they want their clients treated. They're happy to do it because they feel like they're delivering a better experience for their guests.”

Canady is unique in that she has four offices in three different locations, so she cross-trains office staff to be able to work in any of them. “If one office is having an issue, we can transfer phones and our staff can answer and not miss a beat. I also bring chauffeurs and our drivers into our busier areas. If we've got an event in Charlotte, I'll bring my South Carolina guys up. If we're busy in South Carolina, I can bring my other guys down. We train and teach them our driving areas so they know, and if we have to call them at the last minute they know where they're going and that helps with continuity.”

Extra Benefits

Muhsin provides incentives for chauffeurs for getting the company an appointment, lead, or information about what they see some of their competitors doing in the marketplace.

Laura Canady of CLT Express Livery in Charlotte, N.C. talked about how her staff is cross-trained to handle anything that comes their way. (Photo: LCT)

Laura Canady of CLT Express Livery in Charlotte, N.C. talked about how her staff is cross-trained to handle anything that comes their way. (Photo: LCT)

Schneider tries to do one barbecue every month on a Saturday starting in April through October. “We still have over 100 runs on Saturdays, so a lot of the chauffeurs come in and we feed them, and send them out happy and full. We also have a nice holiday party at the end of the year with a partner we do a lot of business with.” He also leverages his relationships with restaurants, casinos, and venues to get tickets, gift cards, etc., in exchange for service so he can gift them to staff.

Canady says allowing office staff to work from home can be a big draw. “I've got a couple of staff members who can work from home, and I’ve also got one in one of my South Carolina offices who works exclusively from home. It's worked out really well. I have at least one staff member at each of my offices who can log in from their house just to help us keep things moving along.”

Preparing For Peaks

When busy times loom, you may want to start aggregating some temporary people who come in every year. If you’ve got multiple locations, cross-training comes in handy; your staff should be able to help anywhere during downtimes in one location.

If you use temps, be sure they are thoroughly trained on your standards. Who knows, they may enjoy the work so much they decide they’d like to work with you full-time. “It's a way to expose people to a positive environment,” Schneider said.

Muhsin says events that draw staff away from the “same old” can be a great change of pace for chauffeurs normally doing airport pickups. “They go out to these big events and really enjoy it.”

Slow Times

During the summer, camps are big in Canady’s area of service so she works with a few and shuttles people from the airport to the camps and back.

Schneider was inspired at one of his kid’s sports games. “I happened to overhear a conversation of frustration because the student school bus for their away game didn't show up. We started a conversation about doing school transportation. Now we're the preferred transportation provider for the St. Louis Archdiocese.” In the summers, they pursue many of the school bus drivers who are off and want to keep working to earn additional income.

Muhsin does many transfers between San Diego and Los Angeles, and a chauffeur drives two and a half to three hours to get there each way. “What I train my staff to do is one hour before they arrive at LAX, they'll start calling affiliates we deal with in the L.A. market and say, ‘Hey, I have a driver dropping off in LAX in an hour. You got anything going south?’ and we tend to give them a deal on it. It's not the best money, but it does cover expenses and it makes the chauffeurs happy.”

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Related Topics: casinos, employee benefits, employee management, employee recruitment, employee retention, hiring, hotels, How To, ILCT 2019, Las Vegas, LCT Show, Mandalay Bay, staff management

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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