High employee turnover rate is one of the major challenge aviation industry is currently facing in the competitive business environment. This can be considered as one of the major incapability of the human resource management in an organisation operating within the aviation industry to retain their employees for a longer period (Karatepe and Vatankhah 2014). Constantly increasing competitive pressure in the market makes it difficult for the organisations to retain their employees. A number of factors along with the competitive nature of the market facilitates in determining the employee turnover rate. This research will focus on identification of the factors involved in employee turnover.
This particular topic is selected for the research due to its importance and the growing challenges faced by the organisations on the same. This will help identifying the major factors supplementing in the increased rate of employee turnover in the aviation sector, which will further facilitate in addressing the issues, as the HR departments will then have knowledge on the source of the issue.
To understand the issues causing into high turnover in the aviation sector
This will communicate the challenges faced by the HR management that limits their ability to retain their staffs.
To identify the employees’ understanding of the turnover rate and the reasons affecting it
This will help identifying the need of the employees that is causing into dissatisfaction, which ultimately facilitating into rising the turnover rate of the employees.
To identify the management’s Opinion of the high turnover rate within the industry
This will help recognising the management’s perception of the issue concerned. Identification of both the perception will help concluding the gap between the management and employee supplementing in the factor. This will help recommending the modification required in the HR management of the organisation that will help reducing employee turnover rate.
The approach elected for the research was deductive as it focused on identification of the issues causing employee turnover in aviation industry. The source of data was of two types that were primary and secondary. The data that was utilised for this research was of both primary and secondary types. Moreover, the data collection method that was implemented in this case was the quantitative data collection method that according to Flick (2015) deals with the statistical data. The primary data analysis used a mixed research design employing both quantitative analysis using data collected online via questionnaires from employees working on ground level and thematic analysis of interview transcripts of managers in the aviation industry, which address there take on the matter. The process was explained in the research proposal which can be referred to in the Appendix section.
Thematic analysis using transcripts from interviews of three managers of the aviation industry was done to gain contextual insights about what are the factors that drive an employee to leave his or her organization in the aviation industry and the role that the management has to play in this (Smith 2015). Three managers from three reputed organizations were approached independently for interviews to get their perspective on the matter of employee satisfaction, performance, retention and their own challenges in managing the work force. The transcripts were studied keeping in mind the role of HRM in ensuring employee retention and the effect they can have on employee turnover. The identity of the organizations and the managers are kept anonymous for the sake of privacy of the participants as per ethical considerations (Zhang and Wildemuth 2016).
The themes emerging from their interview were the difficulty in supervising so many workers, lack of training among recruits and competitive market facilitating employee turnover. It seems that the main difficulty managers expressed that they faced were handling and keeping track of so many employees while having to maintain certain decorum so as to not deter smooth functioning of daily service. It was intimated that employees, especially the new recruits are often unprepared to deal with the demanding and competitive nature of the job and that add added responsibility on part of the management to supervise and train them. This, in addition to the already mounting work is noted as a challenge by most of the respondents. The number of employees under them also makes it more complicated. Thus, they identified lack of training infrastructure as a major deterrent and it seems that perhaps this may give rise to a certain communication gap which might explain the dearth of information regarding the kinds of grievances their employees could have. This is assumed since the managers seemed to be not much forthcoming in their response about the kind of steps the organizations take to address grievances of the employees with their answers being short and not as descriptive when asked about it (Vaismoradi 2016). This makes one ponder whether there exists a lack in connection between the management level and the operations level. However the lack of response might also be a result of the managers wanting to not reveal organizational policies and weaknesses. Adding to that, they listed high competition in the industry as a key factor which affects high turnover stating that promise of higher monetary compensation or inability to handle pressure as reasons for which an employee may leave. This gives a sense of there being unwillingness on part of the managers and thus the management to take responsibility for the turnover although it is suggested that the stress faced in the workplace does play role of instigator. The managers highlighted stress and competition giving rise to the employees wanting to seek out better opportunities elsewhere and competitor companies looking for skilled personnel providing said opportunities as factors which contribute to turnover. The managers however had highlighted training the employees and stress in dealing with the large number of employees as challenges and this betrays a gap in the communication between employee and supervisor that may exist and aggravate the situation of the employee making him or her want to seek out other opportunities. Nonetheless, the focus of the study being the general attitude of the managers towards employees that may affect employee turnover, it seems that although management can’t be solely held responsible, but a management which places more focus on the development of its employees and engages in regular communication could have a significant impact as per the interviewees.
The perspective of the employees was addressed using the data obtained through the online survey. Data from 30 employees was collected using the questionnaire (attached in Appendix). The survey questionnaire had defined internal environment, managerial credibility, monetary benefits, internal environment, external environment and working conditions as tentative factors which may drive an employee to choose a better job opportunity. The survey revealed monetary benefits as the most popular with 41.94% votes. Management, organization profile and internal environment were also identified as relevant aspects.
The questionnaire also had categorically identified delay in salary, domestic problems, low career growth, negative behaviour of supervisor, poor management and unfavourable working condition as factors which may influence an employee to leave his or her current job. Out of these, low career growth was found to be highest rated at 32.26% of the respondents listing it as the leading reason followed by unfavourable working conditions, poor management and negative behaviour of supervisor.
Low career growth opportunities could be related to the lack of intent on part of management to provide better opportunities for growth within the organization and communication gap with supervisors as indicated by the managers in their interview could also have had a role to play (Anderson et al. 2016). Acknowledgement from supervisors, promotional opportunities, amount of work that one has to put in to get recognition, level of support in form of counselling that the HR provides and overall firm culture which all could amount to low career growth are therefore taken into account as factors affecting turnover. Job Satisfaction is considered as an indicator of employee retention and turnover (Wang et al. 2014).
The relationship between job satisfactions, an early indicator of turnover with these factors is therefore analysed using the regression model tool. The categorical variables were converted to ratio scale based on their ordinal natures and regression analysis was done (Peck, Olsen and Devore 2015). The number of times an employee has been rewarded and recognized for his performance, the amount of work that he or she has to put in to receive acknowledgement from his or her supervisor and the firm culture were found to be statistically significant as explanatory variables of the job satisfaction level that was reported by the employees, that is it had significant effect in explaining variation in the response that is job satisfaction (Salkind 2016). It was seen that more the amount of work that the employee had to put in to gain some sort of recognition lesser was job satisfaction and the other two explanatory variables were on the other hand positively related to the job satisfaction score. The final model based on these variables was also found to be statistically significant at 5% level of significance and the adjusted R squared reported a value of 0.55, which is quite a good fit for the model (Draper and Smith 2014).
Thus aside from monetary compensation, career growth opportunities, internal work culture and thus management was identified as key drivers of employee retention. It is clear from the contextual analysis of the interviews that there exists a discrepancy in communication and challenges in training and supervision from the manager’s end. Adding to that, the way job satisfaction is impacted by lack of recognition and rewards and heavy work effort without acknowledgement, which could be explained by the challenges faced by the management, it is concluded that steps to meet and resolve these challenges faced by the management is expected to affect turnover rates positively.
The secondary data analysis and subsequent primary data analysis indicates that the aviation industry is subject to a situation where there is an acute lack of trained individuals. Adding to that it was perceived that incapacity in managerial levels of the organization arising out of either negligence or corruption or both act to put pressure on employee, inciting them to leave the organization. The primary data analysis suggested that participant managers lacked the willingness to take responsibility for the turnover and failed to provide adequate insight regarding what their organizations were doing to keep track and mitigate concerns of the employees. A key finding from the secondary analysis highlights that the workers in aviation primarily happen to come from low income backgrounds and hence are liable to exploitation by the manager who take advantage of their elevated position over the desperate employees and shun their own responsibilities. Therefore, there is an unequal distribution of workload putting too much pressure and eventually burnout on some while none at all on a privileged few. Additionally, low pay is also recognized as a cause for turnover as suggested by both secondary and primary analysis. All this contributes to dissatisfaction among the employees and that coupled with the high competition in the market leads to employees tending to leave the job whenever other opportunities arise, which are plenty.
The analysis narrowed down key issues that impede employee retention. It identified, lack of growth opportunities and high stress at work due to uneven workload and managerial negligence, as reasons fuelling dissatisfaction among employees. It addressed the opinions of the managers who identified competitive market and lack of trained workers as reason why organizations fail to retain employees. Consequentially, it identified that a culmination of managerial oversight, negligence, lack of training, lack of growth and low pay amount to employees seeking opportunities elsewhere and the high competition in the market facilitate the process. Thus the analysis was successful in meeting its objectives and in light of this was able to come up with strategies to counter the situation.
It is felt that perhaps focusing on the effectiveness of the managerial and putting up checks which even the playing field for the managerial and ground level employees could serve to strengthen the operational efficiency and thus ease the workload of the employees by making sure that there is even distribution of work and more open lines of communication allowing for equal scopes for recognition of those who are performing well or may be showing the potential to do better if given the chance to do so. Additionally, lack of proper training being yet another issue, the organization could organize some contingency on job training plan, which could act to provide real time training to the employees, in handling the high pressure, high workload environment in a balanced and efficient way.
Keeping in mind the two recommendations, the organization could plan and conduct periodic joint workshop sessions for its managerial and ground level employees. Engaging the old and new staff for both managerial and ground level staff could act to boost communication and healthy competition within the organization, strengthening bonds while providing learning opportunities for all. Furthermore they could conduct annual assessments and take into account employee feedback to regulate the performance of all its levels. This could work to mitigate the communication issues and issues that newcomers face due to inadequate training.
There were enough secondary sources of information available on the topic at hand. It provided guideline for planning the interview for managers and understanding the implications of their responses. The secondary literature had highlighted the possibility of there being corruption among the managerial levels and bias and ignorance towards the staff and it was reflected in the response of the managers. Depression among the staff was also highlighted owing to toxic work conditions. These played a part in how the interview of the managers was approached. Primary data collection for the survey was easily achieved via online survey. Again, the anonymity of the internet made the respondents more forthcoming in giving out information. Reaching out to managers and getting affirmative response to participate in the study was a challenge. Additionally, the managers seemed to not be much forthcoming with what their organizations were doing to meet the needs of the employees. Although survey data was conducted via online survey, not enough response could be gathered over the given span of time for the project. The authenticity and generalizability of the data, which is, whether it serves to be an appropriate representative of the population of aviation employees in or is it just limited to the organizations that the employees are from could not be verified. Thus it would have been better had more time being spent behind collecting even more data through the survey. The interview of the managers provided valuable contextual insight which could have been supplemented by conducting an interview of the employees as well, as to how they feel the management is operating. Hence, perhaps including a qualitative analysis by approaching the ground level staff for their views on role and performance of the management could also have served to add more value to the research. Again, since the data collected was limited in volume, there was not enough scope to cross validate the regression model that was fitted to the data in the analysis. This also played a part in my reasoning to claim that more survey data would have broadened the scope of the results.
Future scopes for further research on this topic would be to devise a way to separate trained employees from untrained ones and see whether and why and what kind of differences exist with respect to turnover, if differences exist at all. Another trajectory worth pursuing is to conduct an analysis using observational longitudinal design to observe the causes that may lead up to turnover of employees from recruitment to resignation or till 10 years into the organization. Employees could be followed up on every year to assess their feedback for the management and work environment, their work satisfaction and performance to track their work trajectory. This could then be used to identify what factors may contribute to them wanting to leave or stay in the organization. This would also allow for a comparison between individual employees and thus comparison between different categories of employees.
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