3 tips for overcoming the Great Resignation in aviation

Features - Workforce

Adapt and engage to learn from employees’ concerns and experiences.

August 4, 2022

Photo credit: ©Adobe Stock | By Yakobchuk Olena

The Great Resignation – the surge of voluntary quits which started during the coronavirus pandemic – remains a challenge impacting the airport and aviation sector. Even as the pandemic abates, workers have shifted their priorities in favor of quality of life and that’s one reason the Great Resignation isn’t going away.

There were 187,000 resignations in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector in March 2022, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the second-highest in more than a decade.

Despite increases in commercial, charter, and cargo flights – quits are a significant challenge for aviation companies while trying to hire the best operations personnel, aircraft mechanics, and technicians.

Consider ways to adapt your approach to improve morale and keep workers engaged.

Adapt to a candidate’s market

Companies can’t approach staffing challenges the way they did prior to 2020.

Other industries are realizing talent in aviation is much in demand, and aviation maintenance mechanics and electronics technicians have transferable skills.

Larger companies outside aviation often offer better schedules, pay, and environment, so it’s important that aviation companies engage with their workforces’ concerns and experiences.

Aviation and airport operations work can be rigid, since most behind-the-scenes work occurs on nights and weekends. However, the companies making slight changes to their onboarding, upskilling, and overtime offerings stand a better chance of overcoming the industry’s staffing hurdles.

Listen to employee concerns

Even if your talent shows no interest or inclination in leaving, introducing opportunities to voice concerns and talk about work experiences will make them feel valued. Create opportunities for employees to regularly communicate feedback because it gives an idea of individual experiences and goals.

Aviation has a transient and diverse workforce. They tend to move around and often come from a commercial or military environment before moving to a corporate maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) environment. Companies asking about employees’ past experiences and how they align with current objectives can learn best practices.

Recruiting firms play a crucial role in getting feedback because workers may feel more comfortable delivering feedback through a staffing partner.

Interview departing employees

Even if you have excellent retention, no company is immune to losing workers. You can have a proactive and reliable retention strategy, but you can’t control every factor motivating workers to leave. Use the departure to identify existing or emerging issues.

When an employee gives notice of resignation, try to understand why they’re giving notice. An exit interview offers valuable insight into the employee’s mood and motivation for leaving. Learn and consider making changes, it may help employers retain employees they have and make vacated positions more attractive for future talent.

The Great Resignation is projected to persist throughout 2022. Companies should be proactive in making their workforce feel valued by addressing unique needs. It goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and employee retention.

Aviation is a rigid industry, but companies must be flexible. If you aren’t creating or changing your processes to accommodate the candidate flow, you’re going to lose to competitors.

If your aviation or airport operations company needs help retaining and attracting quality talent, consider working with a staffing partner.