Global HR firm Hewitt and Associates was recently commissioned by Qantas to conduct an analysis of the level of “engagement” or “disengagement” of the airline’s staff. It’s a handy HR tool – disengagement implies a lack of respect for management and a level of disdain for the company’s strategic direction. This is generally reflected in higher than acceptable industrial disputation or threats thereof, chronic staff illness and an unacceptable level of staff complaints about deteriorating work conditions.

And, inevitably, more and more customers complaining about surly staff and diminishing standards of service. A “normal” level of disengagement for a large global corporate brand would be 2-3%. In the case of Qantas, Hewitt found a level of disengagement among its international staff (remembering that the lines of demarcation between international and domestic are getting terribly blurred) at close to 23%. This is the highest level ever recorded by Hewitt in any such analysis.

Qantas staff ten times more likely to be grumpy and dissatisfied? Doesn’t suprise us. For more empirical data on the Qantas malaise, check out some of the horror stories reported by Crikey subscribers enduring a “Flying Kangaroo” experience here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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