RyanAir’s real mistake

It’s fundamental.

If you don’t look after your people they’ll eventually leave. All the more so if there are lucrative alternative opportunities on offer.

What seems so incredible about the crisis at RyanAir is how business basics appear to have been overlooked by senior management.

It’s fine to operate a low cost, “strip out all the frills” business model. Offering cheaper prices than the competition yet still remaining profitable.

But you still have to deliver an effective core service.

Last time I checked, you can’t fly a commercial passenger aircraft without pilots.

So if it’s true that there’s been a serious exodus of pilots in the past year, particularly to Norwegian Airlines, how come nobody in RyanAir management pressed the alarm bells, until it was too late?

The consequences of the “do nothing” option were surely predictable, as was the heavy price┬áRyanAir will now surely pay for this mistake in terms of lost profits and tarnished reputation (many flyers would argue that their reputation had already been tarnished).

Which leads to a key point. About knowing which business KPI’s (key performance indicators) to monitor regularly, based on exception analysis.

Leaving aside staff motivation, a likely and fundamental cause of the problem, why was there no (or inadequate) managerial monitoring of staff turnover data?

Surely even the simple measure of “Total Leavers/Total Employees (%)” would have served to highlight a data “spike” and a gathering crisis?

The lesson here for all businesses is to be more holistic in measuring performance.

By choosing the relevant KPI’s, monitoring them, and then taking early corrective measures as required.

And in business, people matter. Employees as well as customers.