Human Resource Management in Etihad Airways

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Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is a second-largest airline in the United Arab Emirates. It was founded in 2003; as of today, it has more than one hundred destinations and has received more than thirty awards for the services it provides. The only airline in the UAE that is larger than Etihad is Emirates. The company provides frequent flyers with loyalty programs and also offers three different classes: Diamond First Class, Pearl Business Class, and Coral Economy Class, as well as particular classes for one or two people (Etihad).

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Etihad Statistics

The company is 13 years old but is a serious rival to Emirates.

It has approximately 20.000 employees all over the world.

Its revenue, as of 2015, was $9.02 billion (Etihad).

On average, it performs about 187 flights a day and approx. 68.000 flights per year (Etihad).

It also performs 135 services per week to destinations in Europe, 17 services per week to the Americas, and 194 services per week to destinations in the Middle East.

Approximately twenty national groups work in Etihad (e.g. Indian, UAE, British, Australian, Pakistani, etc.) (Etihad).

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Approximately 21% of the employees are UAE nationals; Etihad pursues and promotes ‘Emiratisation’, providing employment opportunities for people living in the UAE.

Employees’ benefits: Quick overview

The company provides different services and benefits to the UAE-based employees and expatriates, including a modern, first-class medical facility that consists of 30 medical experts, discounts on tickets both for the employee and their family, smart car-sharing, performance bonuses, sick pay, and job training (Etihad). Professional development is also one of the key concepts at Etihad.

What is HRM?

Human resource management, also called HRM or HR, is an inventing and designing of specific systems that focus on employees’ performance and their talent of accomplishing organization goals (Mathis et al. 5). Although not all companies have HR managers and HR departments, they are needed to evaluate and improve workers’ performance and engagement, develop leadership and other programs, and focus on employees’ retention (Mathis et al. 5). The core functions of HRM are staffing, compensations and benefits, development of humans recourses, development of safety and health systems, and moderation of relationships between the employee and the employer (Harzing and Pinnington 68).

HRM: Activities

HRM activities can vary depending on the company, country, their goals and focuses, and the laws of the country (or countries) they function in. Most of the activities are common for HRM and include understanding and determination of the staff’s needs, recruitment and development of new employees, management of employee and union relationships, providing equal opportunities for all employees with no regard to race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc., dealing with discrimination and other issues, encouraging employees’ motivation, management of payments, benefits, compensations (Mathis et al. 25).

Etihad: Staffing

As the company works with different potential employees who can reside in another country, it provides different methods of application, online and through a recruiter. For students and graduates, the company also provides application through college or university (Etihad). A typical interview consists of a video call (via Skype), online assessments, E-Mail correspondence, and also a phone call. If the person is hired, they need to complete a three-week training program at the company before they are allowed to perform the services according to their position (Etihad). On-the-job training is also included.

Etihad: Training Programs

he training programs at Etihad vary, but the core ones are cadet pilots, graduate managers, and technical engineers. As the company’s employees present 116 different nationalities, it strives to provide opportunities for UAE nationals as well. The Emiratisation scheme was launched in 2010, providing job opportunities for UAE residents and nationals.

Trainees who take part in the engineer program study physics, mathematics, aerodynamics, and aviation legislation (Etihad). After that, the trainees are introduced to Etihad Airways and the aviation industry, its rules and laws. The whole program lasts for two years. The bigger part of the program is conducted at a training center in the Aviation Australia (Etihad). If the trainees pass all necessary exams, they are qualified as engineer trainees and join the technical division of the company that is based at the Abu Dhabi airport. The airport is equipped with modern IT technology that helps make engineers’ performance even more efficient (Etihad).

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Etihad Cadet Pilot Programme is a program that focuses on training and recruitment of future pilots. The trainees need to pass all requirements, including excellent health and language proficiency. At first, the applicants need to complete six written tests. If this part is completed successfully, the applicants are interviewed in Abu Dhabi. Group exercises and further tests, including medical ones, are also to be passed. The training program provides monthly salary and single bedroom shared accommodations at the Horizon International Flight Academy. The program usually lasts for two years. If the program is completed successfully, the trainee becomes an Etihad employee and serves as a Second Officer (Etihad).

Graduate management development program focuses on future managers at Etihad company. It lasts for 18 months and includes classroom learning, a six-week study of management theory, and experience in key departments of the company (Etihad). Since the launch of the Emiratisation scheme, 127 graduate managers “have passed through the Etihad Training Academy and are now deployed in posts across the airline” (Etihad). In 2012, eleven Omani successfully completed their training as graduate managers at Etihad (Arabnews). The workplace orientation lasts six months, while workplace learning lasts eight months and includes cooperation with an appointed team (Arabnews).

Etihad: Benefits

Etihad benefits were briefly presented at the beginning. However, Etihad is famous for its loyalty and employee-centered approach. The benefits that Etihad provides include housing allowances, education for trainees and applicants, coverage of education expenses, employee-centered HR practices, emergency services, childcare services, and a tax-free environment at the Etihad’s base (the Abu Dhabi airport) (“Etihad Airways Responds” par. 5). Together with Aldar Properties, a real estate company, Etihad established housing development close to the company’s base to provide accommodations for organization’s workforce. Nevertheless, the company has been criticized for leaving no personal space to the workers who reside in these apartments (“Etihad Airways Responds” par. 3). Some employees also stated that the company had provided full-time medical assistance to the cabin crews only. Other employees mentioned that the company was known for its labor practices that could be seen as discriminatory (“Etihad Airways Responds” par. 3). The company was also accused of discriminatory approach towards female workers. Etihad states that pregnant women are engaged on the ground during their pregnancy; the company also provides coverage for maternity leave (“Etihad Airways Responds” par. 7).

Development of human resources

The company has developed different programs that target performance management and efficiency of the services. In 2010, a performance management system ‘iachieve’ was successfully completed by all employees of the company (Etihad). The HR department of the company evaluated the performance; first performance-based wage increases were applied in 2011 (Etihad).

To reduce the impact of bureaucracy and increase the efficiency of the employees’ work and communication, the grading structure of the company was redesigned; various job titles were reduced by 30% to avoid job complexity (Etihad).

Learning & Development

The company developed yet another program that focused on performance management and organizational performance; an on-line learning platform was presented to the employees of the company, resulting in a 500% increase of engagement in the learning courses (Etihad). This program also provided cost advantages to the company. More than 12.000 participants took part in 1.300 classroom-based courses (Belobaba et al. 487). A program that focused on new employees was also re-launched in 2011, providing new workers with recourses needed for excellent and effective performance (Etihad). As the company states, one of the main aims of the learning programs is to provide employees with the newest information about the aviation business.

Health and safety

The company pays much attention to the employees’ health as it is a crucial factor during flights. Etihad provides employees with different programs to promote healthy lifestyle and health care. The program ‘Fit 2 Fly’ provides access to gyms, pools, and recreation facilities (Etihad). Another event that targets the wellbeing of employees is the Wellness Day. During it, the staff can ask for health advice, medical assistance, and individual assessments (Etihad). According to the company, the Wellness Day’s aim is to promote healthy lifestyle among the employees. BMI measurements, discussions of stress management, cholesterol checks, and other procedures are provided. Breast and cervical cancer testing is also available for female employees, as well as HPV vaccination (Etihad). As any other multinational corporation, Etihad provides insurance and payment for sick leaves. Financial assistance is also provided during emergencies.

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Employer-employee relations

Etihad has developed a Company’s Code that prescribes the rules of communication among employees and between employees and employer. The company grants confidentiality if an employee raises legitimate concerns. Etihad states that false accusations are not tolerated (Etihad). Protection for those employees who have provided legitimate concerns is granted. Company’s confidential information should not be disclosed. Theft and fraud are not tolerated by the company. Outside employment is allowed only if it does not interfere with the employee’s discharge of duties.

Employer-employee relations: Competitors

The company does not tolerate sharing any sensitive information with competitors. Specific rules were developed to ensure that employees are capable of dealing with competitors without breaking the Company’s Code. Etihad encourages employees to seek for information about competitors, but the sources should be acceptable: publicly available filings, reports, public speeches, news. Unacceptable sources include theft and trespassing of information and confidentially breaches by third-party agents (Etihad). To ensure that all employees understand the rules and laws that the company uses when working and communication with competitors, Etihad presents them with Competition Law Compliance Manual, a document that each employee is obliged to read.

Works Cited

Arabnews. The Middle East’s Leading English Language Daily, Web.

Belobaba, Peter, et al. The Global Airline Industry. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

Etihad. Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi, 2016, Web.

“Etihad Airways Responds.“ TheNational, 2015, Web.

Harzing, Anne-Wil, and Ashly Pinnington. International Human Resource Management. Sage, 2014.

Mathis, Robert L., et al. Human Resource Management. Nelson Education, 2016.

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