Company and Employees as One Through the Pandemic Together

Email

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many across all industries, especially with the prolonged travel restrictions imposed in various countries across the region. Of course, the aviation industry which stands at the forefront of travel has been severely affected as well.

At AirAsia, various strategies and approaches have been applied for the company and its employees to adapt to the situation. While we remain disciplined from a policy level, our employees who are the backbone of AirAsia have also stepped up at their individual level to get through this situation together. From the start of the pandemic, our goal has been to be as prepared as possible, so that we are able to ‘Plug and Play’ at any time when the situation improves and our People and Culture (PAC) Department has been working hard to steer the company through this.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many across all industries, especially with the prolonged travel restrictions imposed in various countries across the region. Of course, the aviation industry which stands at the forefront of travel has been severely affected as well.

At AirAsia, various strategies and approaches have been applied for the company and its employees to adapt to the situation. While we remain disciplined from a policy level, our employees who are the backbone of AirAsia have also stepped up at their individual level to get through this situation together. From the start of the pandemic, our goal has been to be as prepared as possible, so that we are able to ‘Plug and Play’ at any time when the situation improves and our People and Culture (PAC) Department has been working hard to steer the company through this.

Adaptable Performance, The Key

Head of People and Culture at AirAsia Thailand, Mrs. Thiladee Pantumchinda explained that AirAsia’s advantage in having air travel as its core business is easy and fast adaptability to the changing environment. Being an airline, high safety and service standards are paramount and top of mind for everyone at all times. When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, every AirAsia employee’s first instinct was to prepare to accommodate the anticipated changes.

“With a corporate culture that promotes precision, discipline and personal responsibility, we were all able to quickly adapt to an unprecedented occurrence and continue working and living our daily lives.”

Mrs. Thiladee pointed out that AirAsia Allstars, whether cabin crew or ground personnel have a strong sense of discipline which is derived from our commitment towards passenger safety and that made it easier for everyone to adapt to the stringent COVID-19 health measures effortlessly. All staff have continued to display best practices despite the current circumstances and this benefits both passengers and staff as well.

However, as flight frequencies are still scaled down due to the travel restrictions causing the company to face a steep decrease in revenue, it was inevitable that some policies would affect employees including financially.

Secondary Jobs, Primary Importance

From the first wave of COVID-19 infection in early 2020, AirAsia’s mission has been to adapt to survive as well as to mitigate impacts on its employees.  Towards this, the company initiated its Second Job Opportunity program under the “Secondary Jobs, Primary Importance” concept.

“When we couldn’t avoid requesting staff to take leave without pay, we also saw the importance of ensuring a plan to mitigate their lost income as absolutely necessary. All of our employees have a diverse range of skills and expertise, so we initiated a partner program with our allied companies to create job opportunities for affected employees who are interested” Mrs. Thiladee said.

Over one year and a half under the COVID-19 situation, AirAsia has found a range of supplemental work for its employees, from alternate placements throughout the AirAsia Group structure, such as overseeing its comprehensive Teleport logistics system, to roles at partner businesses, such as in real estate sales at Ananda Development, life insurance advisor at AIA, product and service consultant at Tune Protect, credit guidance officer at Bangkok Bank, food and beverage preparation and management within Lotus Group (Thailand), reception staff at Piyavate Hospital and many more.  The program has received considerable interest and has been successful at providing supplemental income to those affected.

“Crucial amidst any crisis is honest and transparent communication.  We made sure to do so from the very start through Town Hall sessions attended by executives, and provided channels for feedback from employees as well as online platforms such as Workplace, which allow for two-way communication and kept us aware of how employees felt throughout the situation.  We used all of this feedback to adjust operational guidelines so that we would all be working towards the same goals and are thankful to all of our employees for their sacrifice and readiness to work together.”

Physical Safety, Emotional Care 

“People First” is a core value for us here at AirAsia, even with the persisting challenge of COVID-19, we are committed to not leaving anyone behind, whether in terms of physical or mental health.

Culture Executive at AirAsia Thailand, Miss Boonrasri Chayawan, stated the PAC Department cares deeply about the physical as well as emotional wellbeing of the employees, referred to by AirAsia as its Allstars. With this care, the company created a project to promote the wellbeing of Allstars working from home, addressing the almost unavoidable stress of the global pandemic.

“Apart from working proactively with partners to find supplemental jobs for our staff, we sought to provide aid in many possible aspects.  We engaged financial experts to provide money management guidance, staged online exercise, yoga and HIIT sessions to boost health and also incorporated the Naluri health and wellness application to help Allstars manage their nutrition intake and physical wellbeing.”

AirAsia also backed the peer support campaign “Allstars Peer Support”, providing advice from psychologists on mental health care and a space for employees.

Keeping the company and its employees united while overcoming COVID-19 is no small task, especially in a business segment so severely affected by the pandemic.  Integral to this has been a corporate culture of positivity, care and trust as well as clear communication on our shared goals.  Fortunately, these are AirAsia’s strong suits and are what will allow the company and all of its employees to make it through this crisis together.