How HR helped transform this major airline

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In recent years, Australia’s flagship airline has undergone a remarkable transformation in reputation and financial performance. HRM sat down with Trudie Harriman, head of HR in the airline’s customer and commercial relationships arm, to discuss HR’s role in the regeneration of Qantas.

HRM: What initially attracted you to a career in HR?
 

TH: As a teenager, I enjoyed my economics class more than any other, and my astute teacher suggested that the HR aspect of a workplace may be suited to my interest in people.

The Industrial Relations landscape of the 1990s was a very interesting time, and I was very passionate about the idea of workplaces driving greater engagement and fairness from within.

HRM: Can you outline your current role at Qantas?

TH: I’m lucky enough to partner with a team at Qantas who are at the forefront of change within the business.

The focus in our Commercial space is to build a great team who develop world-class relationships in order to deliver value for Qantas and our customers.

My role is to enable this vision by leading the people agenda to drive a high-performance culture with a real commitment to a strong performance and capability framework.

My team is committed to achieving high engagement through a focus on coaching, feedback, development and a positive employee relations environment.

HRM: Qantas has had a remarkable turnaround in the last 12 months or so, both financially and also in terms of reputation. As an ‘insider’, what do you put that turnaround down to?

TH: A strong, consistent commitment to the vision and strategies for the Qantas group from our senior leadership team, and strong support for all initiatives in alignment with the vision.

The Group Management Committee has steadfastly supported the change we needed to make, despite the many challenges we face in the aviation industry.

I might be cheeky and say I think Qantas’ people have seen us achieve record net promoter score (NPS) levels throughout the last 18 months of transformational change and have consistently maintained a strong reputation in the market.

 

(Continued...)

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