Staffing Strategy & Systems of Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways is the Abu Dhabi national airline of United Arab Emirates was established in July 2003 through a Royal Decree (Etihad Airways 22). By the end of the year 2015, the airline fleet of passenger and cargo aircraft was 121, and it currently serves 68 countries with 116 destinations. The main business operations of the rapidly growing airline include providing air transportation for passengers internationally. Other services provided by Etihad Airways include Etihad Holidays, Etihad Cargo, Airport services and Etihad Engineering. In addition, the airline is engaged in other aviation and non-aviation services as well as the management of an international loyalty program (Qatar, United Arab Emirates 2). The airline workforce is comprised of multicultural individuals that are highly focused and committed to Etihad’s customers and to one another. As at February 2012, the organizational had 26,637 employees from 143 nationalities. These employees consist of 12,038 care staff, 6,158 crew staff and 2,264 pilots. A significant percentage of the Etihad staff is constituted by the Emirati employees totaling to a figure of 3,185 individuals who account for 30.3 percent of the core workforce. The ability of the airline to source, develop, engage and deliver a well developed and diverse workforce have contributed greatly to Etihad’s financial success, which is reflected in its year 2014 revenues that amounted to $ 7.6 billion. Since November 2003, when the airline commenced its operations, it has managed to win various awards in different categories illustrating its commitment to be a leading premium brand internationally. The latest awards include World Leading Cabin Crew at the World Travel Awards 2015, Best Employee-Technical and Excellent Entity in Human Resources Development at the 2015 ADEAP Awards for Excellence (Etihad Airways Fast facts & figures 1-8):
Staffing Strategy and Systems
Staffing is a managerial function in an organization that involves filling positions in the organizational structure by identifying the requirements of a workforce, taking inventory of the people available, recruiting, selecting, placing, promoting, appraising, compensating and training people. A staffing strategy is concerned with the process of identifying and addressing the implications of staffing need in business, and it emphasizes on the long-term goals of business. Strategies selected by a company during its staffing function are determined by four factors that include the time available to fill a position, the resources needed to accomplish the function, the quality of the staff. The quality of staff is associated with experiences, potential as well as the source from which the staff will be recruited. A staffing system is concerned with the manner in which employees are managed to make sure that their personal and collective interests are aligned with corporate objectives. The systems include the processes, people, and tools that help the company to evaluate whether the favorable trends observed in its employees’ performance reviews are real or will eventually not reflect a true picture of the company’s long-term objectives (Phillips and Gully 34).
Etihad Airway Staffing Strategy and Systems
The Etihad staffing strategy and systems are developed at the organizational level. The main reason behind this is to ensure that the staffing function is in line with the Company’s current and future objectives. This strategy provides the overall guidance on how Etihad should deal with its employees including how to identify new staff and the kind of people they need on their staff. The staffing strategy also reflects the existing realities of the Company while at the same time setting the direction for where Etihad wants to be in the future. The human resources function is given the responsibility to come up with some of the staffing strategy policies as well as the process that will support the strategy. The staffing strategy involves coming up with the goals and objectives of the strategy and carrying out various activities that ensures the airlines identifies, hires, develops and retains the right people in the organization.
At the organizational level, Etihad lays down the goals and objectives that should be attained by its staffing strategy. This involves identifying the marketplace factors in the aviation industry as well as other external factors that are likely to have an effect on the staffing strategy. For instance, in the aviation industry, customer service is crucial, and thus, Etihad looks for individuals who are willing to enhance customer’s experiences in their jobs. Customers come from diverse cultural backgrounds; this factor that needs to be considered in the staffing strategy by ensuring that hired staff can meet the diverse needs of the customers. Secondly, Etihad aligns its staffing strategy with the organizational goals to make sure that the organization mission is achieved. For instance, all jobs advertised are accompanied by job descriptions that explain what is required of all desired candidates. This ensures that the company is able to attract qualified individuals who play their part in growing the organization (Kräkel, Szech, and Bieberstein 123 -135).
Strategic staffing efforts involve a number of activities that include identifying the number and type of employees that are required at a given point in time, and it includes describing how employees should be organized and deployed. This is concerned with the staffing levels and capabilities that are needed to ensure the organization’s plans are effectively implemented (Pritchard 45). In Etihad Airways, this staffing activity is carried out with the help of the Company’s website. One of the Web pages is used to display the different categories of jobs found in the Company. Etihad jobs are divided into many categories to enable Etihad to attract individuals with different capabilities. The different job categories include the Cabin Crew Jobs, Pilot Jobs, Etihad Cargo and Catering Jobs, Strategy and Planning Jobs, Airport and Network Operations Jobs, Technical Operations Jobs, Corporate and Commercial Jobs. Moreover, the UAE National program is another category that is used to offer an opportunity for UAE nationals for their career growth across all the corporate and operational functions. On the same page, job seekers can be able to search for opportunities in their areas of interest by clicking on the job categories to find out whether there are any available vacancies. Candidates can also request to be sent an email, informing them of any job opportunities after signing up with the company. Etihad Airways posts any job opportunities available on its website and other career websites (Etihad Airways n.p).
The second activity in the strategic staffing process involves making projections for the supply of talent that will be available at a given point in future to ensure an organization meet its defined future requirements. In this case, an organization factors in the effects of turnover, retirements, and forecasted movements. Etihad Airways makes plans for future growth by taking into consideration the number of new employees that will be required to achieve these plans. For instance, At the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) conference, Etihad outlined its massive growth plans for the next five years. To support this growth, the national UAE airline plans to have a 54 percent increase in staffing. The percentage increase will translate to an employment of about 79,000 staff by the year 2020 as illustrated by the airline’s Senior Vice- President of Marketing. The additional staff is for meeting the staffing needs that will arise from the increase in its fleets, and additional destinations that will join Etihad’s network. To ensure there are adequate skills available in the organization for its future growth, the airline has a broad range of training programs that are meant to equip the future employees of the company with various useful skills. The training programs cater for the future needs of the organization that will require a supply of talents at various capacities making sure that the organization is not faced with shortages (Fitzsimmons, Jane, and Rose 33).
Staffing plans also involves identifying the staffing resources that are available to a company. The resources are used in communicating the staffing needs of the organization to potential candidates, making invitations for interviews, conducting the interviewing process, making evaluations of the suitable candidates and carrying out orientations of the newly hired employees (Lee 231). Etihad Airways Human resource department effectively uses its website to advertise any available vacancies to willing candidates making sure that a large audience accesses the information. It also makes job vacancies advertisement through the print media such as newspapers and magazines as well as on career websites. Moreover, social media platforms are used to reach another wider audience. Other resources within the company are set aside for the human resource departments, to be used in the process of interviewing and hiring new staff.
This activity is concerned with the development and implementation of staffing plans and actions that are play the role of closing the talent gaps and eliminating any surpluses that may have arisen. This involves filling the available job openings, whereby new job vacancies can be filled by either advertising the positions internally or advertising for outside candidates. At Etihad Airways, promotions are carried out to fill certain job positions at the Company. Promotions from within the company are likely to take place for the positions at the higher management levels that require individuals who have worked at the company for a number of years. The individuals who are promoted from within the company are also trained prior to these promotions. They could also be holding other managerial positions at the company. On the other hand, candidates from outside fill job positions at lower levels. Outside contractors who provide services on a part-time basis to the Airline are also hired by the Airline for services that do not require the employment of full-time employees. Diversity is another key issue that is considered when filling vacant jobs openings, whereby individuals from diverse backgrounds are purposely contracted to fill strategic positions in the company. This ensures that Etihad Airways has a workforce that is diverse in terms of background, nationality, gender and race. For instance, the airline has undertaken a program to grow its local workforce and offer career opportunities to the UAE national women. The Airline allows the UAE nationals who have already passed through the UAE National Development programs to hold key positions too. The issue of diversity affects the process of hiring since different aspects are considered while identifying candidates. These aspects include the language spoken by the candidates and the suitability of the candidate to work at different locations (Etihad Airways 25).
The recruitment process for Etihad Airways involves submitting one’s curriculum vitae (CV) for assessment. This is allowed for any person who has attained the criteria for the advertised position. In this case, the Company does not send any invitations to individuals for them to submit their CVs, rather, the locations, details, and dates of where candidates can submit their CV are updated on Etihad’s website. Social media websites and other career websites are also used to provide the details. The CV can be delivered to the specific locations they are required, or they can be submitted through an online application. Candidates are selected after meeting the required criteria set by the Company for the particular position. An invite only assessment is then conducted for the selected candidates (Etihad Airways Opportunities around the world n.p)
Employee Retention and Development
In the staffing strategy, an organization has to consider how it will retain its employees, develop them and provide a suitable working environment. Retaining employees involve outlining the levels of staff the company can accept and the extent it will go in retaining its staff. It also involves coming up with human resource management policies that will help in making staff feel happy and positively challenged (Katz 46). For instance, Etihad Airways pays close attention to the wellbeing and safety of Etihad’s people by making sure they are offered a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This is made possible through the provision of various services as explained by Etihad Airways that include “onsite medical center, five fit2fly gyms, nutritional, dental and cancer screening services, a 24/7 ambulance service and a variety of awareness campaigns with family wellness fairs” (23). Etihad Airways also explains that the staff members are provided “with a 24/7 corporate security number, 24/7 HR duty managers and a dedicated welfare CARE team” (24). High-quality accommodation is offered to 8,333 employees that constitutes of onsite supermarkets, swimming pools, and gyms. The first aviation themed onsite nursery was established by Etihad, which is managed by a leading British childcare provider, prioritizing 100 places for female employees. The human resources conducts frequent monitoring of annual leave balance with the guidance of a clear policy that states that leave must be taken in the year it is earned, the annual leave tickets for employees, family, and the communication campaigns helps in promoting work-life balance for the employees. To encourage teamwork and relationships outside work, various initiatives are used by the airline such as the iVolunteer group, which has 500 volunteers and informs staff members about the charities and community organizations where they can volunteer (Etihad Airways 25).
Employee development is also incorporated in the staffing strategy used by Etihad Airways. This involves supporting the growth of their employees by enhancing their knowledge and skills required in their work including the professional skills, business skills and technical skills. The managers responsible for different areas in the organizations are required to emphasize the development of the employees that are under their control. Different programs are also used to help for enhancing employee developments at the organizational level. For instance, a two to the three-year graduate management program that concentrates on classroom education as well as on job training is used to create future leaders in the UAE aviation industry. All the employees at different levels of the organization are engaged in induction and training sessions. In 2013, Etihad came up with an effective management program that trains managers on the Company’s management practices. Providing a healthy work environment is another significant factor incorporated in the staffing strategy used by Etihad Airways. Employees are made to feel important from staffing perspective of the company. For instance, the more than 25,000 employees working for Etihad from more than 144 countries are described as Etihad family (Etihad Airways 25).
The staffing strategy and systems applied by Etihad Airways ensures that the Company identifies, hires, develops and trains a workforce that greatly contributes to the success of the company. The organization sets the goals and objectives of the staffing strategy and systems at the organizational level to provide overall guidance and make sure that the current and future needs are satisfied. The staffing strategy and systems are comprised of an array of activities and process that are useful in achieving the goals and objectives of the strategic staffing.
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