Discussing the Human Resource Development in the ever changing Airlines Industry

In today’s technologically advanced and competitive world differentiation is the key to success. Even though there have been multiple debates on whether quality of human resource is directly proportionate to the success of a business, we cannot disregard it upfront. Businesses today are paying special attention to the development of their workforce in order to achieve better competitive advantage and sustainability. And as a human resource developer it requires great understanding of the processes involved in realizing the desired results from the workforce. While formulating and implementing any organizational development strategy, it is very essential to chart a win-win situation where there is improvement in resources’ quality of life as well as increase in productivity and improvement in the quality of service/product of the organization. It cannot be stressed enough that one cannot have increased productivity and quality work without a highly motivated workforce. Thus any strategy formulation required the organizational goals and employees’ personal goals to be aligned and at sync with each other. Changing organizational goals will require these goals to percolate further down to its workforce as well as the changing personal and professional goals need to be synced with the organization.

Human resource development uses the four stages framework namely  need assessment, design, implementation and evaluation to achieve the employee training and development needs, resource career development needs and lastly organizational development needs. It would be right to mention here that any organization looking to sustain the in the globalized and dynamic market will require and on-going process to keep re-aligning its development strategies.

To illustrate these stages we can take the example of the airline industry. With the advancement of technology the airline industry is bringing better and safer aircrafts in use. The latest in this has been purchase of the Airbus A380. The advanced technology that is being used, requires airlines to prepare themselves to better handle the equipment. And we could very well put the four stages of human resource development in this context.

The airline company needs to have a thorough assessment of the technical training needs of the pilots, the ground staff and aircraft crew members and further prioritize these need to be able to achieve its strategically plan of starting the A380 flights for the public.

Ones these training needs are identified and prioritized these will have to be objectified for the development of training sessions, training materials, suitable mode of conducting the training (using instructors, simulators, web based trainings, etc). After having these listed out, a thorough detailed schedule will be charted to carry out the training in a structured manner.

With the schedule in place, the airlines management team would proceed further with the implementation of the designed training session. It is important here to take heed of the situation periodically so as to keep the training on track and identify if there are any requirements of re-assessing and changing any part of the training module to better align it to the airline’s strategic requirements. E.g. With the change in the delivery schedule of the A380 the training sessions would have to be re-scheduled so that there will be little gap before the resources start putting the newly acquired skills in use and thus avoiding any additional training sessions.

Ones the implementation of training is in place the evaluation stage needs to go live with regular feedbacks from the trainers as well as the trainees. We can never ignore the evaluation stage as the benefits are multifold to the organization, in this case the airline. Regular feedbacks from the trainers and the trainees, gives the management clarity on what is working and what is not and can help measure the effectiveness of the training. It is easier to identify opportunities for improvement by using these feedbacks constructively in tweaking and fine tuning the training strategies and business strategies. Thus this becomes an on-going process where the evaluation stage leads us back to the assessment stage.

Although the processes like these help the organizations prepare its human resources with required skills to perform in the ever changing business and technological environment, but there are a few internal as well as external challenges faced. In the aviation industry the employee turnover ratio is very high and thus there is a constant leakage of skilled resources. At the same time with the technological changes training is an utmost essential part to maintain competitive edge. Thus is becomes very important for the airline, while formulating a training budget to keep in mind the ROI from such trainings, as the ROI is greatly reduced in the aviation industry due to the leakage of skilled resources. This brings us to another essential point that there is an equal need for the employee engagement program in place to ensure that the airline is able to keep its skilled resources. How the organization engages its resources largely depends on the industry it belongs to. With the aviation industry, remuneration and other fringe benefits plays a very important role in reducing the employee turnover ratio. It is believed and we have various studies proving this point, which is that a fully developed resource is highly motivated to work with the same company and this reduces the attrition. We can never ignore the importance that the human resource development plays in this and thus it becomes a mandatory part of any sound business strategy.








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