WRITTEN BY Jennifer Pickerel ON February 22, 2022

this must be the place on sign - employer of choice

When it comes to attracting and retaining aviation talent, are you an “employer of choice”?

In other words: When candidates are applying with several companies, is yours at the top of their list? Are you aware of how you stack up with your competition?

In fact, are you even aware what your competitors are offering?

Key to Attraction & Retention: Give Them What They Want

As obvious as it might seem, the first step is attracting and retaining talent is to give them what they want.

But first you have to understand their needs and motivations.

By addressing the needs of your staff, you can build a solid reputation where employees love their job. You will also create a culture whereby job candidates accept your offer.

Keep in mind that team members stay put if they’re paid well, enjoy their work, and feel a sense of belonging. They’ll also be more likely to overlook their issues with company policies and/or a heavy workload.

But, if you operate with a toxic workplace culture and mediocre benefits, your employees are likely sending out their resumes.

For the past five years, API business aviation candidates have been telling us what they value in a job. It’s a blend of work/life balance, more predictable schedules, competitive compensation that includes equity, and an opportunity for growth.

Now more than ever, younger staffers want to know that there’s a clear path for advancement. They want reliable communication channels and a sense of belonging to something worthwhile. And Gen Z, particularly, are interested in working for companies who adopt and live by socially responsible values.

What You Can Do

So, as a hiring manager, how can you ensure that you’re an employer of choice? There’s actually a lot you can do.

For example, greater numbers of flight departments are handing out retention bonuses to keep their employees from leaving. And they’re also looking into whether they have optimal staffing levels.

Let’s face it: during the current aviation talent shortage, you almost need to be overstaffed. If someone leaves the department, it might be a long time before you can find a replacement. (Additionally, aviation directors must deal with crew needing to quarantine due to a positive Covid test or exposure).

But before you go hiring just anyone to fill a vacancy, really think about how you can hire strategically. Staffing-wise, what do you really need to do to redesign or rethink your department? Would adding a hangar specialist help offload the miscellaneous tasks assigned to the maintenance department? Or could you use a business analyst to help you with budgeting, procurement and sourcing?

And, with the move to working from home, who do you really need to be situated in the hangar? With that in mind, who can work a hybridized virtual and in-person job? And what’s needed to build a cohesive team environment while giving staff the perks they’re looking for?

The Three “C’s”

This recent HBR article shares the three C’s to building an “employer of choice.” Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  1. Career catalyst – Will your company help an aviation employee move his or her career forward?
  2. Culture – Does your team understand your corporate values and do they thrive in the environment? Do they feel included?
  3. Citizenship – Are you giving back to the industry and community in socially responsible ways?

An Honest Assessment

Answering some of these questions can aid you in your quest to be a true “employer of choice.” But in order to do so, you MUST make an honest effort to establish what your company might look like to a prospective employee.

In these days of talent shortage, it’s clearly a jobseeker’s market. They can afford to be choosy, so it means that you need to redouble your efforts to make your company attractive. I know it’s worth the effort!

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