Today’s post was written by Adrian Steel, global head of IT operations for International Airlines Group.
How do you foster teamwork and collaboration across a workforce of 41,000 people when a large majority of your employees quite literally have their heads in the clouds most of the time? At British Airways, we’re using Yammer to encourage great ideas from employees on the ground and in the air. Within 21 months, we reached over one million Yammer posts, which represent a phenomenal amount of knowledge shared between British Airways employees from all corners of the organization.
British Airways is pioneering the use of Microsoft Office 365 for our parent organization, International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes Iberia and Vueling Airlines. We’re using Office 365 to help achieve excellent levels of collaboration, operating synergies, punctuality and customer satisfaction.
We introduced Yammer two years ago, and within just six months, more than 11,000 employees had joined the British Airways network. We’ve found that Yammer facilitates spontaneous conversations among employees—sparking innovative ideas that help us operate more efficiently and improve customer service.
For example, when our employees got their first look at the new Airbus A380 airliner, Yammer buzzed with excitement. However, some cabin crew members noted that the galley layout could be improved. One employee even sketched and posted some recommended adjustments. The engineering team, based in Wales, was tracking this social conversation and quickly captured and incorporated the feedback—all in a matter of days.
This connection and level of collaboration between different parts of our organization would have previously taken significantly longer to achieve. Yammer collaboration reduced the exchange to days and drove a highly effective solution that enhanced staff productivity and customer service on our new A380 flights.
In another example, the team responsible for customer experience proposed some improvements to amenity kits that British Airways cabin crew give out to customers in our First cabins. Cabin crew started a thread talking about the amenity kits, discussing what customers thought about them and what products might be included in the future. Having real-time feedback from our colleagues at our fingertips ensures we can make changes that our customers will love, and our cabin crew colleagues know that their feedback is important.
Yes, our employees could have conducted all these conversations over email, but email isn’t the best forum for group discussions. Yammer is a very efficient way for hundreds of people to exchange ideas quickly across many locations, time zones and teams.
And speed is of enormous importance in the airline business. Just about every process, from loading planes to checking in passengers, is monitored and measured down to the second. Anything we can do to speed up a process by even one minute can have a huge impact on getting planes off the ground on time. We supplement these core processes with Yammer and Skype for Business online to encourage collaboration among many teams in real time to make the best possible decisions in each situation.
With the ability to quickly solicit great ideas from our global workforce, on the ground and in the air, we are transforming our business and continuously improving customer service. This is what it’s all about. This is one of the areas that helps us distinguish our brand from the competition.