Maintaining professionalism in our flight schools will help our students concentrate and take their training more seriously. Our crew needs to understand that representing GA in a positive light is vital not only to attract new students, but also to support pilot retention.
The world’s best companies agree that happy employees make productive employees. This may sound like HR 101, but understanding and implementing the right balance for your particular operation can be tricky. Overwhelming rules and restrictions can create stress and resentment, but providing clear expectations and praise for accomplishments will garner satisfaction and loyalty.
While some schools believe that enforcing a strict dress code policy of official pilot uniforms, complete with shoulder boards and stripes, is the right approach to professional appearance, CFIs routinely complain about the reality and sensibility of maintaining such uniforms when they are in and out of airplanes and up, down and under aircraft, especially while dealing with either extreme heat or cold temperatures. More often than not, the morning’s fresh, crisply ironed white shirt is soon streaked with oil, wrinkled beyond belief, and a distraction to the CFI when they become aware of their disheveled appearance.
Creating a hierarchy within the flight school that is evident to students can give some the perception that their two-striped CFI isn’t as good as the one with three stripes, causing some to feel resentment. Dispatchers and schedulers routinely struggle to fill the schedules of some CFIs while juggling and squeezing in new students on already over-booked ones due to this common misconception. Equal billing for your CFIs makes everyone feel equally important and improves your overall profits.
Here are some basics to consider when creating guidelines of proper presentation and professionalism in not just your CFIs, but all staff:
Some guidelines may seem unnecessarily harsh, but it’s vital to keep the school a place of business. It’s important to get to know students and make them feel welcome, but be careful not to cross the boundary in to what could be considered inappropriate.