Friday, January 18, 2013

Results from our recent poll

To coincide with the launch of our new website, we created a poll to try and establish the reasons why people would consider new employment. The following categories were provided to participants:
  • Work not challenging
  • Salary / Bonus not meeting expectation
  • Strategic direction not supplied by management
  • No promotional opportunities
  • Micro Management
  • No feedback on personal performance
  • Other
Within the results there were two clear reasons why people would consider new employment:
  • ‘Work not challenging’ (25%)
  • ‘No promotional opportunities (24%)’.
It is well known that the structure of aircraft lessors tends to be flat, the smaller the company the more this really stands out with owners / principals taking a hands on approach with most divisions. Within larger aircraft lessors there is usually an abundance of internal competition for senior roles when they arise. Examples of this would include ILFC – Phil Scruggs, Macquarie - Harry Forsythe and Aercap - Kenneth Wigmore. The entire RBS management team that moved to Avolon were all replaced internally and I am pretty sure there was no shortage of internal interest in the vacant positions. Evidence of a strong desire for people to seek promotion. Therefore, people are most likely to be receptive to external promotional prospects when they are presented. The path to a role in Marketing is seen by many as the ‘Holy Grail’. Many people (not all) who are in the other divisions like to see a logical or achievable path to a marketing position, through Credit, Pricing, Technical or Legal. If the company has a smaller or established marketing function then a person may be willing to take a sideways step to another organisation in order to ultimately move to a position of advancement. Within Peak Performance, lack of promotion is usually the main reason people would cite as a reason for change.
We were slightly surprised to see ‘work not challenging’ rate so highly and we wonder if this could be partly linked to a lack of promotional or advancement opportunities. Also, in some of the larger aircraft leasing entities, functions are very much defined and the person may not have an opportunity to step outside of their core duties, in comparison to a smaller organisation that could provide a person with a broad range of responsibilities. We have noted that recently, people are often more selective on the roles they want to apply for, sometimes stating that a role is not broad enough for their interest.
The third place result is ‘salary / bonus not meeting expectations’ (19%). This is something that would be reasonably common across many disciplines within aircraft leasing. There has been a lot of interest from aircraft leasing companies on salary benchmarking in recent times which may be an indicator that pressure is coming internally from employees or that companies have lost staff for this very reason. I think that it is human nature that some people will always place a higher value on their own self worth. People not only desire career advancement but also improvement in their financial status.
Fourth place at 16% is ‘strategic direction not shared by management’. It is interesting to see this score reasonably highly. We rarely hear this as a specific reason to leave a company, but judging by the results, enough people place a significant amount of importance on this shared vision. If people are being kept in the dark with regards to the company direction, it is less likely they will be as loyal to the company as they may feel that they are ‘just another employee’. People prefer to share in the strategic direction of the company so they can align their own values to it and ensure they are contributing individually to the growth of the organisation. People also like to celebrate successes, and will collectively gather to try and reach a goal if a major milestone is about to be achieved.
Following up at the rear are ‘micro management’ (9%) and ‘no feedback on personal performance’ (2%). Micro Management is self explanatory and there may be reasons for this; if a person is performing well it might be worth giving them some autonomy. The 2% vote for feedback on performance is an excellent sign that the industry is proficient at providing employees feedback on their own performance, perhaps some companies/managers should think a little further about how they communicate their corporate vision.
To summarise, employers should note that providing challenging work and promotional opportunities are areas that can be addressed through personal development plans. We are now coming up to annual reviews which are a great time to not only assess a person’s individual performance but also to consider how the company has assisted in the employee’s own development or progression? Is there room for the person to take on more responsibility and/or be trained in a different aspect of the role? If promotion is a key driver for the employee and there may not be a role open immediately, sharing the company’s vision or growth can help highlight future growth opportunities for the individual.
Watch out for our new poll that will ask what key attractions employees seek in a new company.

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