Communicating to engage and retain

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It’s a tough world for airlines as oil prices increase and margins shrink so the pressure is on all business units to support the bottom line.

At Air Canada one tool for the HR department is in boosting engagement through better company culture. More engaged employees are more productive and loyal.

“One of the biggest changes we’re seeing is a lot more of a collaborative work environment,” VP of HR Arielle Meloul-Wechsler told HRM.

In developing the culture at Air Canada, Meloul-Wechsler and her team focused on creating a nimble organization that could evolve continuously.

“It’s not a three year plan or ten goals – it’s more a question of subtly changing what it means to work at Canada and continuously evolve,” she said. “A lot of it is communication. We are increasingly transparent and communicative with our employees.”

From increased recognition and a weekly newsletter, to town hall meetings and improved team briefings, the airline is focused on making sure everyone understands their role in achieving organizational goals.

The organization has embraced Yammer, first putting the flight crews on the corporate social media site and then opening it up to the whole company. This year Air Canada launched a new portal with forums, news and other resources to help employees communicate with each other and get help in real time.

“Change is the new reality for all businesses so we need to be nimble and adaptable to change,” Melouol-Wechsler said. “HR is going to have to adapt to help the business through that in a really concrete way. If we’re going to go through all this change with long winded change management approaches HR will fail.”

Hear more from Arielle Melouo-Wechsler at the HR Leaders Summit in Toronto on November 6 and 7.

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