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Retaining flight attendants and the importance of job crafting

June 6, 2017 - 5 minute read

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Retaining flight attendants has been a major problem within the airline industry and still is. However, airliners can fight employee turnover by empowering their flight attendants. It appears that employee engagement and turnover significantly improve when attendants are able to experience more autonomy, challenges, support from colleagues and self-development.

In today’s competitive airline market, the role of flight attendants is crucial for providing praiseworthy services to travellers. Therefore, airliners aim to retain attendants who can meet both supervisors’ and travellers’ expectations. But often flight attendants are beset with jetlags, long night shifts, role stress and burnouts. Cabin crew members employed by international airline companies recently confirmed they also often struggle to deal with misbehaving passengers.  All these factors affect employee turnover.

The work of flight attendants is very demanding. On the one hand, flight attendants engage in emotional work. At the other, they’re expected to function in teams efficiently, having to build relationships with their co-workers in order to improve service performance and to react to travellers’ requests quickly.

Retaining employees: job crafting helps

In practice, in order to alleviate all the challenges, attendants tend to redesign their job in ways that they can experience more autonomy, challenges, support from colleagues and self-development. Scientists recently confirmed this again by following and questioning flight attendants from thirteen domestic and international airline companies.

Employees who can successfully craft their work, are more energetic, dedicated and tend to get more absorbed in their work. In practice, this is for example expressed by spontaneous and impromptu actions to meet passengers’ needs and solve their problems. On the other hand, attendants who can't craft their jobs, have the intention to leave the organization, impede successful service delivery and engender poor services. It's said, such a culture would be the cause of recent incidents at United Airlines and American Airlines (video).

The act of self-redesigning a job is also known as ‘job crafting’. Various researches (see 1, 2, 3) have found that job crafting increases employee engagement, decreases employee turnover, and reinforces staff’s performances.

Retaining employees: job crafting at Speakap

Speakap’s social business software empowers frontline supervisors and frontline employees to craft their jobs.

1. Employees and supervisors can share timeline messages

Enabling them to share ideas, new products, knowledge, plans, customer feedback, successes and anything else of interest for the organization. Enabling recipients to reply to a message, or like it. Timeline messages can be posted within a team network, a department network, a location network or a company-wide network. Speakap supports messages with videos, images and various types of files. Read more here.

2. Employees and supervisors can start (group) chat conversations

Enabling them to quickly and privately talk about all kinds of project challenges and other business matters that are relevant for certain network members. Read more here.

3. Employees and supervisors can use third party applications

Enabling employees and supervisors to settle all their digital activities on one platform, from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Speakap can be fully integrated (in)to existing software within your organization. Still looking for new software solutions empowering your employees? Our marketplace offers ERP, expense reporting, e-learning and scheduling tools such as Sharepoint, Afas, Leaplines, Softbrick and SRXP. Read more here.

4. Co-workers can visit each other's member profiles

Enabling them to get to know and get in touch with all network members. Within their profiles, network members can show their picture, email address, telephone number, position, expertise and the various timeline pages they’re connected with. Read more here.

5. Senior managers, corporate communications co-workers and supervisors can start news feeds

Enabling them to inform the organization, a department, location or a team about new developments, statistics, strategies, products, instructions or any relevant business matter. Enabling employees to reply to a news message, or like it. They can also check which employees noticed and read the news item, and who didn't.

Speakap stores your data in modern and carbon-neutral data centers in the Netherlands. We serve SME's and service chains in the hospitality, retail, (health) care and tourism markets, including customers such as Rituals, Media Markt, Selfridges, Intercontinental HotelsBosch, Kinepolis and Schiphol Airport.  Speakap is the winner of the ABN Amro Award 'Best Retail Innovation 2017'.

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Katy is shaping the new voice of Speakap. When she's not writing for work, she's writing for fun. When she's not writing, then she's probably out looking for the best taco in the city.