HR & Training Solutions Takes Virgin Atlantic to New Heights at Heathrow

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HR & Training Solutions has undertaken a management training program for Virgin Atlantic, following the launch of brand new facilities at Heathrow&rsquo;s Terminal 3 (T3). <br />            <br />Virgin Atlantic&rsquo;s Heathrow management team is responsible for some 750 people who ensure service provision to the company&rsquo;s 2 million passengers who fly from Heathrow&rsquo;s T3 each year.  <br /> <br />Toward the end of 2007 Virgin Atlantic launched the brand new Upper Class Wing at T3 that introduced a private security corridor exclusively for Virgin Atlantic&rsquo;s Upper Class passengers, so they could get from their limo through to the airline&rsquo;s flagship Clubhouse in fewer than 10 minutes. The airline&rsquo;s check-in area in A Zone was also completely refurbished making it wider, brighter and more spacious, enabling passengers to check-in at kiosks in a fast, efficient and stress-free way.  The development is part of BAA airports&rsquo; investment plan &mdash; with a budget of 1 billion pounds &mdash; for T3 over the next 10 years. <br /> <br />The change in design and layout of Virgin Atlantic&rsquo;s facilities meant that its team management had to implement brand new processes.<br /> <br />In addition, Virgin Atlantic needed something to harness greater team cohesion, empower tangible leadership and encourage personal accountability. This was vital in order to meet stringent safety standards and customer satisfaction results.<br /> <br />Virgin Atlantic approached Richard Lowe, managing director of HR & Training Solutions, after hearing about the Bristol-based company&rsquo;s Best Year Yet approach.  <br /> <br />The Best Year Yet approach offered a unique and effective way to align Virgin Atlantic&rsquo;s efforts to improve their performance and results. The program provides visible and clear accountability, one of the key things that most attracted Virgin Atlantic to choosing this program. <br /> <br />The program started in April 2007, with a two day kickoff event to put together a Heathrow Best Year Yet plan. This is a highly motivating process that aligned Virgin Atlantic&rsquo;s management team thinking on what needed to change and be implemented during the next year. <br /> <br />&ldquo;The team set clear goals that we felt would be stretching and defined clear commitments for how they needed to work more collaboratively to generate a breakthrough in their results,&rdquo; said Lowe.<br /> <br />Andy Cross, head of organizational & people development at Virgin Atlantic, said: &ldquo;Best Year Yet brought energy, structure and a winning process to the Heathrow team, allowing them to deliver the best results possible.&rdquo;<br /> <br />&ldquo;Unlike many programs, Best Year Yet is rigorous in driving the change and results into reality. The regular review process, which included development support tailored to a team specific needs, ensures they make the progress in the year that they need.&rdquo; <br /> <br />According to Lowe, key factors in the success of a &lsquo;Best Year Yet&rsquo; program are:<br /> <br /><ul><li>Be decisive and ensure everyone is clear that this is a fundamentally important program to you and your business. </li><li>Be prescriptive and set clear expectations for attending the scheduled reviews.</li><li>The program works in any business environment, so if you don&rsquo;t operate in a typical 9-to-5 operation, be creative and make sure you integrate your review meetings into your regular monthly meetings. </li><li>Nominate an enthusiastic and respected &ldquo;champion&rdquo; within your team to maintain the focus of the program in between review meetings.</li></ul>

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