Staff Experience Issues Cause Turbulence for Ryanair


It hasn’t been ‘plane’ sailing for Ryanair as the latest news reports indicate. Although they have climbed to become the fifth largest airline in the world, the famous words of Andrew Gove, Intel’s very own incredibly successful CEO, comes to mind: “Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction”.

The low-cost carrier has experienced some turbulence in the last couple of months or so, with some 700,000 passengers having their flights cancelled and some passengers even being left stranded. The Independent reported that the root of the worst-ever case of staff shortage – that only affected Ryanair – was due to annual holidays and Flight Time Limitations (FTL), yet the rumours flying around that both their pilots and cabin crew were planning strikes paints an entirely different picture. It is, therefore, no  surprise that many have questioned O’Leary’s ability to steer the company in the right direction.

High Levels of Staff Frustration

We have recently seen the consequences of escalating problems with the end of Monarch airlines earlier last month; the risk Ryanair encounters from ignoring such monumental issues within their business structure could see the organisation crashing in the foreseeable future.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a little look at the data! We ran 135,000 online comments from 55 of the largest European organisations through our staff experience lenses here at the Pansensic headquarters. Our staff, along with the help of our intelligent software, crunched the data and revealed a shocking 26% frustration rate amongst the Ryanair staff. 26%, you may be thinking, is a relatively low score; however, this rate is actually double the average score (13%) across the 55 organisations we were benchmarking, and particularly higher when compared to their main competitor, British Airways, whose rate of staff frustration sat at the average score. To make matters worse for the airline, in the leaderboard of staff experience for the 55 leading European organisations, Ryanair was stationesdfd at the lowly 54th place, just under Anglian Water.

Drilling into the data, we dissected which areas of the staff experiences were causing the biggest concerns and considered what actionable insights could be derived from our comprehensive data. Let’s just say, morale and staff engagement is not high over at the Ryanair camp! With morale frustrations rated at 52% and irritation at the staff engagement just as bad at 50%, these are two areas of the business structure Ryanair seriously need to look at in order to eradicate the problems felt by their staff. Both of these areas could be easily improved with more  focused training and improved management that listened to both their staff and customers. When we compare this to their competitor, British Airways, with morale frustrations at 31% and staff engagement issues at 5% (of the data collected), it is safe to see why Ryanair is falling short of their staff’s expectations.

Staff Experience Issues Cause Turbulence for Ryanair

Qualitative Feedback Analysis

The numbers highlight fundamental problems within the structure of the business; yet O’Leary’s educational background, with a Bachelor in Economic and Social Studies, should make him hard-wired to crunch the numbers and solve the issues present in his company before it escalated to such a crisis. Referring back to a theory of one of the leading CEO’s in the world, Gove states that success breeds complacency and with complacency comes failure; perhaps this is what has happened to Ryanair? However, in the defence of Ryanair, most businesses do not have the technology to analyse qualitative text feedback, which means that the decision-makers are not fully informed in solving the issues presented to them.

Analysing what we have encountered though provides an interesting picture that highlights clear issues within the staff experiences of Ryanair that desperately need addressing. Some examples of the problems in the staff experience highlighted in our findings include asking staff to pay for training, management focusing on the costs at the expense of their employees and negative rumours about management painting a bad picture of the organisation; however, if we had access to more text data we would be able to draw a more comprehensive conclusion, with more accurate and actionable points, to help this issue within the Ryanair brand.

Examples like this are why we want to help businesses utilise the vast amounts of text feedback data available on the internet or in their own databases to adapt their organisation in every aspect, including staff experiences. Every day, we analyse the data from millions of customer and staff experiences with the goal of improving business products and services. We are passionate analysts who carefully and thoughtfully check the data to provide you with truly actionable insights, working closely with you to plan solutions to the business issues or objectives you have outlined to us. The actionable insights derived from the collection of data will allow your organisation to mould the brand experiences of both your customers and staff to create a more relatable and smooth-running business.

Staff Engagement

If only O’Leary were to get his head out of the clouds, he could easily resolve the staffing issues highlighted by the data we found and avoid the unnecessary headaches. After such success from listening to the passengers and launching the ‘always getting better’ programme in 2013, let’s hope that O’Leary now realises that his staff are not happy and that he needs to begin to listen and engage with their needs.

Take heed of Gove’s famous motto; ‘only the paranoid survive in business’, so stay in tune with your staff before any issues sky-rocket. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you mould better staff experiences using our intelligent data. 


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