A Tale of Two Airlines
By the end of 2013, American Airlines and US Airways had closed the merger of the two organizations, creating the largest airline in the world. As a newly merged entity striving to deliver a consistently superior travel experience for its more than 500,000 daily customers, the company faced the daunting task of uniting the distinct talent acquisition processes and technologies that the two airlines previously had in place. Separate applicant tracking systems (ATS), different recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solutions, independent work groups and unique hiring processes led Rob Daugherty, American’s director – Talent Acquisition, to liken the company’s talent acquisition process to “trying to change a car’s tires while driving 80 mph.”
From First-Class to World-Class
Already acquainted with Talent Function’s ability to implement talent acquisition strategies that align with a business’s unique needs, American Airlines reached out to the firm to enlist its specialized talent consultants in conceptualizing and developing a fresh delivery model for the newly merged airline. In order to help American Airlines establish a world-class talent acquisition process, Talent Function drew from best practices gleaned through its customers’ experiences to help the company identify potential roadblocks and determine the appropriate structure for the new process. With a number of legacy programs and people involved from both US Airways and American Airlines, a critical component of success was leading the company through a process redesign and technology optimization
As a first step, Talent Function helped American Airlines build a business case for restructuring the existing recruiting processes that would move toward an integrated Talent Advisor model and position recruiters as strategic talent acquisition experts. The team began by exploring a number of metrics, including the cost of time spent on reviewing large numbers of resumes and conducting potentially unnecessary interviews. Where American Airlines found added value was in the ability to articulate the effect of the overall candidate experience on the company’s bottom line.
“Talent Function helped us establish a strong business case. We were able to showcase examples like the one of a flight attendant candidate who had such an excellent experience throughout the hiring process that she planned to start flying American Airlines regularly. The firm was able to clearly demonstrate the tremendous impact that a positive candidate experience can have both in terms of reducing the potential for lost revenue as well as increasing the potential for revenue growth,” said Daugherty.
With detailed ROI numbers in hand, the American Airlines talent acquisition team was able to gain the necessary approvals to move ahead with the process redesign. Talent Function then collaborated with American Airlines to develop a talent acquisition structure that was in line with the business objectives of the new organization, incorporating recommendations on existing and new software that would enable American Airlines to successfully achieve its hiring goals. As part of the redesign process, Talent Function also advised American Airlines on how to best merge its RPO solutions and reconfigure its existing ATS technologies to complement the new talent acquisition approach.
Soaring to Success
Thanks in part to the insight and expertise offered through Talent Function and the dedication of the American Airlines talent acquisition team, the airline expects to launch a company-wide rollout of its new model in January, 2016. The internal team also now has the support of 49 staff members – compared to 26 under the previous model – and includes a position dedicated to improving the candidate experience for American Airlines applicants. With the help of Talent Function’s thoughtful, consultative approach, American Airlines is better positioned to soar to new heights with a reinvented talent acquisition process in place.
“Elaine Orler, along with her team at Talent Function, has established a company with the expertise to deliver on established objectives and achieve remarkable results. While they are amazing with conceptualizing a new model, it is the company’s ability to tie the details together, from processes to technology, that really sets them apart,” added Daugherty.