api case study - energy company embracing change - windmill and sunflowers

Following is an API Case Study regarding our recruitment and consulting services.

During the summer of 2019, the aviation leader for a large, energy-producing utility company contacted Aviation Personnel International (API).

His mission: to help his company’s flight department find top talent and analyze its compensation and benefits programs.

As it happens, the company’s Aviation Department comprises a fairly senior group of very highly experienced aviation professionals. It’s made up of nine full-time pilots, two maintenance personnel, a dispatcher and an office administrator.

The downside of that was a high degree of turnover, primarily due to pending retirements. The aviation leader knew that with the prevailing competitive recruitment environment and talent shortage, it was time to reach out to industry experts.

So, when a very important hire came due, he sat down with his boss, the Vice President of Security, and explained the situation in detail. Based on his own experience and several referrals, the aviation leader suggested that they get in touch with API.

“There’s got to be a better way to get a long-term fit,” he told his boss.

Surprising Assessment

At first, however, what the client discovered in their conversations with API proved to be very different than they anticipated.

“Once we got into recruitment discussions, API regretfully told me they couldn’t accept the search project,” he said.

The aviation leader and his HR team were shocked. After all, they’d never experienced that level of push back from a third-party vendor. “API explained that our compensation and benefits package just wasn’t competitive enough for them to be successful helping us,” he said.

Armed with this eye-opening assessment, the client “took the high road” and readied themselves to make several significant changes. The utility company engaged API as a partner to help them restructure their offering and attract the talent needed.

API was able to help them understand that, without some specific changes, their company wouldn’t be successful finding the right fit for the job opening—or any future ones.

To their supreme credit, they took that hard news as a positive.

“It actually was the best thing we could have heard,” the aviation leader said.  “No company had ever told us ‘no’ before. This level of honesty spoke volumes about API. And it happened to be a tremendous way to establish credibility with our HR team. As we learned, with API, it’s not about the money, it’s about the relationships and the integrity.”

Embracing Change

With a promise from the client to willingly change their underlying culture and hiring model, API soon came on board. The recruiting team rolled up their sleeves and started working to find a feasible solution for the Aviation Department.

After their review, one of the first recommendations API made was for the utility company to increase its compensation offer—a recommendation they agreed to. With the new, more attractive compensation model, API brought three, highly qualified candidates to the table. These were passive (already employed) job seekers that the client would likely never have been exposed to.

Once they began the interviewing process with the candidates, the aviation leader discovered that, with API’s involvement, the overall time element for hiring was greatly reduced. “Using our old hiring process, following corporate policy and working through our HR department could take up to four months—from the initial sign off for the position to onboarding,” the client explained. “API was outstanding from a time perspective,” he said. “Within no time at all, we had our three candidates. Then, in just a month and a half, we had our pilot onboard. We could never have done that internally.”

The compressed timing proved particularly beneficial, because the utility company happened to have an extremely tight schedule for filling the position. They were in the process of making preparations to send a team for initial training before they welcomed a new aircraft delivery.

Winners All Around

The outcome, the client is happy to report, has been one of deep satisfaction and success for him and his department. And now API’s recruitment team is on the utility company’s radar for future recruitment projects.

“The entire department got a pay increase across the board,” the aviation leader noted. “The percentage of pay increase was even larger than I expected. We have a very happy group right now.” It’s absolutely changing the culture within that once struggling aviation department.

“API delivers well above what you would expect,” he added. “They have some really, truly talented people in their pool. They’re very genuine, sincere individuals. When you’re looking for people in this environment, API excels at knowing the passively employed candidates. I don’t think we would have found that quality otherwise.”


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