HR Insights

Effective Staff Absence Planning

What can SME’s learn from Ryanair’s recent “Significant Management failure”*?

What we learn from the current state of Ryanair’s employee/manager relationship is that as we are reminded time and time again, it really is the simple things that count and that getting the basics right in the first place will payout in the long run.

If you treat your employees with respect, they will go the extra mile for you. As a company boss or manager, you really should lead by example. Don’t tell your employees what they can and can’t do or will and will not do – ask them for their help and cooperation. For this to work, you need excellent communication for your team. It pays to invest in a sound system that makes this easy and ensure that the features grow with your business. Spreadsheets or a wall planner might work when you have four employees, but, when you expand or have remote workers, you might need to consider something web-based to keep the communication going. Investing in a system that streamlines your workforce’s absence management and time tracking can save you money and much stress in the long run.

Ryanair’s employees have been quoted as saying they feel “Undervalued” – this is extremely bad for business. If your employees do not feel valued, they will have no desire to go the extra mile for you or your business. When times get hard or a better offer comes along, they will jump without looking back. This behaviour is evident in the pilots and first officer’s reaction to Mr O’Leary’s requests that they work extra shifts and rearrange their annual leave.

Improving communication between your staff and managers turns people into a team – cultivating a community fosters a culture of care.

This is the essential element when running a successful business, especially if you have remote workers working across many countries and time-zones. Transparency of work is vital at all levels of employment, not so big brother can see what you are up to, but so that all team members know what is going on at all times.

Re-accommodating 95% of customers just this week alone, cancellations costs of £22m along with the costs of the pilot and first officers bonus of £12,000 and £6,000 a day are massive financial costs to Ryanair all caused by a lack of efficient absence planning. Still, the effect on employees and passenger loyalty has the potential to create more significant problems and to think this could have very easily been avoided by a system upgrade and better communication.

Take Away: Don’t put off improving a business process, put it on your short-term plan. Respect and value your team, give them the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently. The cost will be small to your business but massive for your employees, therefore customers.


*Quote Mr Michael O’Leary BBC News 21st September 2017

Kate balances being COO for a workforce management software product with being an almost perfect human.

Her blogs and expertise are about efficiently handling three obnoxious children and a difficult 42-year-old who wrote this bio.

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