With the goal of creating a community of agile leaders, AirAsia recently launched the #TalentConnect series as part of its talent development initiatives, Faz Kamaruddin, group head, talent, AirAsia shares.

At AirAsia, employees are called 'Allstars' because the company understands that without its employees, it will not be where it is today as one of the largest low-cost carriers in Asia. "'OneAirAsia' is the motto keeping our 20,000 Allstars around the world excited about working in AirAsia", Faz Kamaruddin, group head, talent, AirAsia, shares.

Spearheaded by the group talent management team of the people department, AirAsia recently launched the #TalentConnect series, a platform for its Allstars to share their knowledge of the aviation industry, as well as the AirAsia culture, with young talent visiting from various institutions and organisations.

Some of these include Melbourne Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, executive MBA students from EDHEC Business School & Embassy of France, and Malaysia Maritime Academy.

#TalentConnect essentially involves experience-sharing sessions with these students, with topics ranging from airline operation, business management, marketing, customer service, corporate social responsibility and more - all with the aim of encouraging learning and career growth through engagement activities.

"The events highlight different areas in the business, from strategy to operations, allowing our best and brightest to shine. Getting Allstars involved in social learning events connects them with each other across divisions, building a strong community of top talent," Faz said. "Recognising high performers and identifying high potentials are key priorities in AirAsia. Creating a safe space for Allstars to connect with new ideas and networks is one of the ways to make learning more social."

All sessions are not just open to the visiting groups, but they are also open to fellow colleagues.

She added: "In one session our panel may consist of leaders representing areas of operations and commercial, discussing AirAsia business model, operations, data analytics and revenue management; while another may involve leaders from the areas of risk management, government relations, treasury and corporate finance, discussing lessons learned in managing risks and costs.

Creating a safe space for Allstars to connect with new ideas and networks is one of the ways to make learning more social.
"Connecting our visitors, who are our potentials guests and Allstars, with our fellow colleagues, is what we can do to help impart our passion to them. This is the essence of the initiative; to help people gain valuable insights by connecting with each other," Faz said.

Flying through the process

Post the programme, some changes seen in fellow Allstars include an increase in an understanding of the current challenges facing the organisation, as well as an update in knowledge of what innovations different lines of business are working on.

"This is building towards creating a community of agile leaders across different business areas who collaborate better with each other while tackling the bigger challenges ahead. #TalentConnect series is also a talent attraction channel, which gives us an opportunity to connect with external top talent who, after having a better understanding of our culture, will be able to be high performers when they join us," Faz said.

Apart from the normal small hurdles of managing time and conflicting schedules of internal guests who would join the events as hosts, Faz pointed out that the gift of the #TalentConnect initiative is that it is almost challenge-free.

"What has been working well for us is to have a clear purpose of each session and get as much information as possible up-front, to help give a clear picture to everyone involved. Proper planning, resourceful project management, flexibility in our own approach and a sense of humour help the team to make the initiative a success," she elaborated.

Free from turbulence

One key to the initiative's success is communication.

"Involving stakeholders at the planning stage helps us to anticipate and overcome hurdles. Identifying internal guests to co-host a session is just the first step; taking actions to help make it easy for them to join us is also our responsibility," Faz explained.

While it is too soon to see the ROI of the initiative, Faz shared that the goal is to create more mentors and coaches in the organisation, more heads of departments who embrace a strong partnership with the people department, more people managers who help bring out the best in their teams, and more leaders who create other leaders.

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Photo / AirAsia