Thomas Cook Airlines

Setting Up and Implementation of a Performance Management Process Within 3 Months

The Company

When Flying Colours and Caledonian Airlines became members of the Thomas Cook Group and were in the process of merging to become Thomas Cook Airlines, there was an acknowledgement that their people processes should be aligned to aid cross-functionality across the group. One aspect which became more urgent during the launch of the new Thomas Cook Airlines name was the introduction of an effective Performance Management System for all ground staff (c500), especially as this would predict management bonuses under the Senior Management Bonus Scheme.

Thomas Cook Airlines were in the process of recruiting a permanent HR Manager, but this was at an early stage and implementation of Performance Management could not wait so Lesley was called in to get this off the ground.

The Challenge

With only 3 months to complete the project the challenge was to launch Performance Management within this limited timescale, while ensuring alignment with other Thomas Cook group companies and to achieve payment of the management bonus.  The key challenges were:

  • Ensuring managers understood the impact of implementation,
  • Their role in making it a success and
  • That each manager had agreed SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed) objectives that were aligned with those of the business.

The Approach

As a first step Lesley put together and conducted a series of information sessions to which all managers were invited.  The aim of the sessions was to engage managers by outlining:

  • The reasons for, and benefits of performance management,
  • The implementation timetable for both the senior management bonus group and those below this level.

During these sessions managers had an opportunity to practise writing SMART objectives for themselves (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).  For example, a customer services manager might write a SMART objective for staff to:

  • Reduce waiting times at check in queues (specific) by 5 minutes (measurable) within a 3 month time period (time-bound)
  • The question would be to ask if it is achievable and relevant?  Well, yes it was certainly achievable with the new check in system and new duty rosters and relevant?  Customers certainly felt so!

Lesley authored all the supporting information including ‘Manager’s Guide to performance management’, staff guides and performance management templates which were aligned with other companies in the Thomas Cook Group but with a Thomas Cook Airlines identity.

There followed an intense period in which Lesley worked with senior managers to align their personal objectives with those of the business, with objectives flowing down from those of the Managing Director.

The Results

The brief was successfully achieved within the timescale with all managers trained and working towards their aligned personal objectives within this period.  The first review against objectives would be conducted at the end of six months

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