It’s inevitable. The circumstances may vary, but the outcome is inescapable. There will be a day in the not-too-distant future when your employees find themselves sitting on their hands because they have nothing to do. At least they think there is nothing to do. Maybe there are a couple cross-country flights out and there’s nothing else on the schedule for a couple hours. Perhaps the weather turns inclement for a bit and keeps the casual passerby from wandering through your door. Or maybe it’s just a Tuesday afternoon when things normally get slow.
As the manager of the facility the duty to find productive work for your staff to engage in falls to you. And that is the key. Productive work, not just busy work. Assigning tasks for no reason other than to have moving bodies in the vicinity of your office is counter-productive. It induces irritation and tends to cause employees to become disgruntled. Disgruntled workers lead to poor customer service and high employee turnover. We want to inspire loyalty, dedication, and a drive to contribute in a meaningful way to your business.
Rather than assigning specific tasks to your employees during these down periods, why not challenge them instead? Let them use their best initiative to impress you. Make it clear that you’re willing to let them stretch out and try new things during the lulls that invariably happen at a flight training business. Their creativity may surprise you. It might even bring you rewards you never thought possible.
You’ll find talents and insights from your employees you never knew they had. One might create a new logo that blows away your old one, while another may design a spreadsheet that helps streamline your operation and cut costs. It may turn out that you have a lineboy who enjoys calling former students to encourage them to come back for a bit of dual, while your counter staff may surprise you with a marketing campaign that uses social networking at a cost of pennies yet yields real results.
On your own you might have never thought of any of it, but the odds are good your staff knows a thing or two they can do to ratchet up your business. Let them loose to use their imagination when the circumstances permit. You just might be surprised by the results.
To up the ante a bit, you can use simple, inexpensive incentives to get your crew thinking on a full-time basis about how they can make a bigger impact on the dark days when nothing is going on. Kicking in to buy pizza as a surprise perk for the effort is a good first step. Creating a monthly or quarterly title of Top Contributor for the employee who dazzles you most, and gifting them with a pair of movie tickets or a gift certificate to a local restaurant, could be the boost your crew needs to really kick into high gear and make the most of their down time. Post their name in view of the public, and you'll see their competitive spirits soar while their desire to impress you in new ways becomes contagious.
Use your own creativity when considering incentives for your troops. But don’t forget to make good use of the least expensive incentive you can offer. Offer a sincere “Thank you” to every employee who participates, and do it often. Because while they’re jockeying over who wins the big prize each month, you’re a winner every time those newly motivated employees walk through your door, flip the lights on, and prepare to serve your customers with a big smile and a well-earned sense of accomplishment.