Hermes Airports’ award-winning vision to be an Employer of Choice

An interview with Natasa Iacovides, Senior HR Manager, Hermes Airports. By Ross Falconer

Hermes Airports began a Transformation Journey six years ago, with the vision to be an Employer of Choice. It is a journey that has required everyone’s commitment, contribution and participation, and which was recognised with the HR Excellence Award at this year’s ACI EUROPE Best Airport Awards.

Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World, presented the HR Excellence Award to Natasa Iacovides, Senior HR Manager, Hermes Airports and Eleni Kaloyirou, CEO Hermes Airports.

“The foundation was set in 2013 when ‘People’ became one of the six strategic priorities of Hermes Airports,” explains Natasa Iacovides, Senior HR Manager, Hermes Airports. “It was then that we set the goal to become an Employer of Choice, and our mission was to create a healthy organisation, with strong leadership and a high-performance culture, in which People would feel recognised, respected, and given developmental opportunities that would improve their personal and professional lives.”

The journey began with a Culture Audit, where the overall purpose was to capture the perceptions of the existing culture and involve Hermes Airports’ People in creating a new culture – one that would reflect its revised values, vision, and priorities. Based on the results, the People Action Plan was developed, covering actions in all HR areas.

“Since then, we introduced well-established practices in Leadership, Learning and Development, Communication and Collaboration, Talent Management, Executive Coaching, Wellbeing, Recognition and Renumeration, etc,” says Iacovides. “The introduction of these initiatives has supported our desire to be a healthy, caring organisation with strong leadership, outstanding results, and a commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers.”

Indeed, employee Productivity increased by 55% and the Satisfaction and Engagement level by 30% (4.14/5 in 2018 compared to 3.18/5 in 2013).

“Winning the HR Excellence Award is a significant recognition of our Transformation Journey,” Iacovides adds. “Accreditations with the calibre of the HR Excellence Award and the Platinum Investors in People standard signify that Hermes Airports is an Employer of Choice in Cyprus and abroad. Our vision for Hermes Airports to be a healthy organisation and an Employer of Choice is a key priority for us; it increases the possibility to attract and maintain more talents and skilled professionals, while at the same time enabling our people to feel that they work for an organisation they are proud of.”

Establishing a shared airport culture

For Hermes, learning is an ongoing developmental journey, and in 2017 the Hermes Academy was designed with the aim to establish a learning culture that supports constant development of technical knowledge and skills.

“New joiners enter the Induction Program in order to effectively assume the responsibilities of their role and become familiar with the corporate culture and core competencies,” says Iacovides.

As People progress, they have the opportunity to develop their leadership and management competencies, as they are defined within the ‘Leadership and Management Competency Framework’.

Iacovides explains that Learning & Development has become a strength, scoring 4.21/5 where in 2013 it was identified as a weakness (2.9/5).

“The next step was to expand the Academy to the airport community as we aspire to establish a shared airport culture and collaborative mindset, where all stakeholders, acting as one, inspire our People to create an environment where customers can experience our high-level services and enjoy the warmth of the Cypriot Philoxenia (hospitality).”

In 2017, Hermes Airports established the Evexia | Being Well Program aiming to support its people and help them maintain a happy, healthy and productive life. Initiatives are offered based on eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, environmental, occupational, financial, spiritual, social and intellectual.

“The initiatives include positive nutrition workshops, blood tests/health checks, on-site occupational doctor visits and massage sessions, parental coaching workshops including one-on-one sessions with a specialist, hiking and football clubs, the Employee Appreciation Week, and more,” Iacovides comments.

Looking ahead, Hermes Airports plans to introduce new and innovative HR practices to maintain the positive results and keep its People motivated, engaged and productive.

“We will continue our leadership development journey, focusing on agility, collective leadership and the creation of a self-transforming leadership culture, aiming to support our leaders steering the organisation through this complex and rapidly-changing environment,” says Iacovides.

She adds that focus will also be given to the Hermes Academy for the airport community. “We are confident that all of the above will be achieved through the involvement and active contribution of our People and stakeholders.”

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