Workplace Culture and Engaging Employees in the Aviation Industry
Meet Hanan Badri, Chief People Officer of Flyadeal
In this exclusive interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Hanan Badri, Chief People Officer of Flyadeal. Hanan is the first female in a chief level position in the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia, holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Central Missouri and a master’s degree in sociology from Central Missouri State University.
Hanan has worked for big local and multinational companies across Saudi Arabia in different sectors, such as Saudi National Bank, SAED, AVON, IKEA, Virgin Megastore, Bupa, and Flyadeal. She has held various HR positions, from organization development department HR director, HRBP, to Chief People Officer. She is responsible for managing overall HR functions from people’s development to organization development, ensuring the overall development of the people function and managing performance in contribution to business and organizational goals. Additionally, she oversees the administrative function of HR and maintains people’s policies and procedures.
Q. Due to global talent retention and workforce shortage issue after pandemic, the aviation industry, including airlines and airports, is struggling to retain and recruit people. Considering the high demand for skilled workers in this industry, what strategies has Flyadeal employed to mitigate employee turnover and ensure the retention of competent staff?
“The aviation industry was severely impacted worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a massive drop in demand for air travel resulting in significant financial losses for airlines. Travel restrictions, border closures, and lockdowns imposed by many countries to control the spread of the virus further affected the industry. The crisis led to unprecedented challenges, including employee layoffs, route cancellations, and fleet reductions. The industry’s attempt to regain pre-COVID agility and profitability is the ultimate goal.”
“However, we at Flyadeal have experienced remarkable growth during the pandemic despite the challenges. While the company, like other airlines worldwide, had to suspend international flights and close borders, domestic travel demand in Saudi Arabia surged, enabling Flyadeal to thrive.”
“We have implemented several effective strategies to attract and retain local talent. The company’s unique working hours, no flight layovers, enable employees to finish their work and return to their families and daily routine without disruption. This aspect makes Flyadeal a more attractive option for local talent, allowing the company to recruit and retain more competent and qualified employees.”
“Promoting employees from within the organization is another effective strategy employed by Flyadeal. This approach creates a sense of loyalty and dedication, with employees seeing the potential for career advancement and growth. Flyadeal exemplifies this strategy, having its first female dispatcher and female ground operations employee. The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident, with 65% of its workforce being from Saudi Arabia. This approach creates a positive work environment that values employees’ diverse perspectives and talents, attracting and retaining talented individuals.”
“While promoting from within is crucial, it is also necessary to bring in external expertise. Employing a diverse range of perspectives and experiences can be incredibly beneficial for businesses. Striking a balance between promoting from within and bringing in external talent is crucial to creating a workforce that is innovative, adaptable, and equipped to handle future challenges.”
For any organization to operate successfully, it must have a strong supportive culture
Q. Tell us your thoughts about the importance of Culture at Flyadeal
“When we established our values, which include fun attitudes and positive behaviors, we always strive to look for the best in people. We have 33 nationalities who bring value and integrity to their roles, and we also consider how the company treats them. When hiring new people, we assess the value they can bring to our team. While we acknowledge that we may not always get it right, we conduct annual surveys to ensure that our values are reinforced, and we are pleased to report that we are currently meeting our goals.”
“At the heart of our organization is our culture.”
“Culture is often referred to as the soul of an organization, and it has a significant impact on us as individuals. Just as our interactions with people at school or at home shape us, the culture we develop at work can also shape us. For any organization to operate successfully, it must have a strong supportive culture. At Flyadeal, we have decided that our culture is one of equality, a culture that prioritizes trust and value!”
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