Speaking at this year’s awards – in which they were honoured for being the first inductee into the Randstad Award’s Global Hall of Fame – Air New Zealand General Manager, Organisational Effectiveness, Jodie King credited the company’s ‘Go Beyond’ strategy
as an influencer for the People’s team to make the organisation one of the best – with a focus on a high-performing culture, values and leadership.
She said a high-performance culture shouldn’t be aspirational but a reality for the 11,000 people who make up their workforce.
“At Air NZ we say you act your way into the culture you deserve to have, so we’re focusing our efforts on how to make people feel accountable for being great leaders who are focused on delivering that uniquely Kiwi, magical customer experience,” she said.
To help achieve this they have four service values that are the “DNA of our organisation”.
“Put simply, they are how we do things around here and we have made sure they resonate with our staff no matter what level of the organisation they work in and whether they’re customer facing or not,” King explained.
The service values are: Be yourself; Share your New Zealand; Welcome as a friend; and Can Do. King said the values have been widely communicated across the business so that they are now part of the organisation’s vocabulary and are embraced by employees.
“People love them, they’re simple and they can relate to them and we try to create heroes out the of the people who really embody these values and go the extra mile for customers,” she added.
When it comes to leadership, King said the company is “turning up the dial” in terms of the expectations of their leaders. A desire to have their leaders recognised has driven an investment by Air NZ in new leadership development
framework in which over 1000 employees will receive more than 80 hours of formal leadership development training. Along with that they have introduced five leadership behaviours that show it’s not just about the results that are achieved but how they are achieved.
The behaviours are:
- Aim high – having a growth and results mind-set and a passion to compete challenging status quo;
- Passion for people – developing talent and teams, being passionate about people and getting them working together, influencing others without having to rely on hierarchy;
- Step up – executing with excellence, high standards, personal ownership and the discipline to see it through no matter what;
- Know your customer – having an acute customer focus, being curious about the world we operate in, connected to our customers and making things better for them in everything we do
- Own it – acting with accountability and responsibility and fronting up to the tough conversations and calls.
“All of our employees regardless of whether they have formal leadership responsibilities or not will be measured against these leadership behaviours,” King said.
She added that the focus on personal leadership is an edge that keeps the company ahead and means they have a balanced strategy in bringing in “great talent and building up our internal talent”.
King, however, admits the company does have some areas that need improvement including induction processes and female representation in their top 70 leadership team. While female representation in this team was 17% less than 18 months ago, it is now at 30%, King said it will take “significant focus” to reach their next target of 40%.
She said the company was focused on making the changes to the areas where they needed to “lift our game” and believed the investments they are making will result in a more engaged workforce.
Air New Zealand has taken out the Randstad Award for most attractive employer for three consecutive years from 2011-2013 – the only organisation to do so in the award’s 13-year international history – so what are they doing that is making them a leading employer?