Last summer, British Airways carried out a staff satisfaction survey for the first time in years – the results did not make for good reading, with just over half of the 17,000 employees who took part in the survey saying they were “proud” to work for the airline. Perhaps even more damning was the measly 4% of employees who felt “optimistic” about the future of British Airways, while nearly a quarter of respondents said they felt “underappreciated”.
So have things changed over the last nine months? British Airways has just concluded another survey and there do appear to be marginal improvements – very marginal. For example, 56% of employees now say they are “proud” to work for British Airways – an improvement of 2% on the first survey.
Other areas, however, remain contentious. Asked if they felt British Airways was making the “right changes for its customers” only 36% of staff agreed and less than half said they would speak positively of the products and services that the airline offers customers.
The survey may well have been carried out before British Airways revealed it’s brand new Club World Suite and a host of new destinations so it will be interesting to see if this figures ticks upwards in future surveys. Those figures, though, do reflect the improvements that BA has introduced to its in-flight catering and the White Company bedding in Club World so, clearly, the airline’s own staff think a lot more still needs to be done.
Meanwhile, the percentage of staff who think their opinions are actually being listened to has plummeted. Down 10 points to just 17%, while only 21% of employees feel they feel recognised for the contribution they make. British Airways says it will address this by making senior leaders more visible, while also launching a new company intranet and rolling-out new mobile devices to staffers.
It’s probably important to point out that this survey comes during a fractious time for labour relations at the airline. So far, three unions that represent pilots, cabin crew and ground staff have failed to agree on a pay rise with airline management. The offer on the table is way below what the unions want and it could result in staff being formally balloted for industrial action.
And while the headline figures don’t make for good reading, although we don’t know the full context behind those figures. It looks like British Airways is taking the results seriously and is implementing initiatives to engage staff but in such a massive organisation it going to take quite some time.
It’s also worth pointing out that British Airways says it’s investing over £6.5 billion in the passenger experience, including the aforementioned Club World Suite and brand new aircraft. Some of the changes – like buy onboard food and drink on European short-haul routes – haven’t been popular but the airline has proven to remarkably resilient in what is an increasingly competitive market.