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HRM Strategy at the Emirates Airline Report

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2019


As competition in businesses increase, international companies continue to develop dynamic strategies that can allow them survive in the current global market. Emirates Airline is one such company that enjoys the fruits of proper strategic planning and implementation of employee engagement and retention systems across the globe. This paper seeks to analyse various strategies Emirates Airline employ in human resource sector. Similarly, the paper will seek to outline the benefits of such programs to global business entities.

Company Vision and Mission

All business entities boast of missions and visions for the venture. Emirates group believes in caring for employees, relevant stakeholders, environment, and communities, as well as strive towards ensuring adequate service to these groups of people (The Emirates Group par. 1).

However, the company’s visions and missions must accompany such factors to ensure production lies within the expectations of the venture. Emirates airline believes that ambitious and well-calculated decisions made by a stable and strong management team create great organisations. The company does not only believe in ethical leadership for its success, but also caring for the communities it serve and the environment as well.

Leadership Style and Human Resource Management at the Emirates Airline

Success of an organisation relies on the financial muscles of the entity and the leadership structure in place for successful implementation of strategies that are essential for high productivity. For any organisation to succeed in implementing a strategy, effective and efficient leadership structures are necessary.

Leadership an essential element in the success of businesses since it instils a motivating culture and positive attitudes in employees in order to work towards meeting their targets. In order for an entire workforce to engage in activities towards a common goal, a suitable leadership team is necessary to give directions and offer supervision functions (Ilgen and Pulakos 54).

The Emirates Airline has an outsourcing partnership with Infosys Technologies from India through it technology solutions arm, Mercator. Apart from hosting other Middle East Airlines, Mercator offers loyalty solutions, cargo operation, and revenue accounting. In essence, the airline company does not outsource services like departure control, reservations, and revenue accounting since its technology solutions arm is tasked with such services.

Charismatic style of leadership plays an integral role in the success of Emirates Airline. His Highness Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum proudly integrates patience and consensus building among the work force to come up with the most viable production strategies.

The free-area thinking strategy helps in the development of successful and innovative ideas that thrusts the company into the global markets (The Emirates Group par. 7). These leadership skills continue to propel the Emirates Airline into conquering the flight market. For example, it became the first company to install Audio Video On Demand (AVOD) in the seats of all classes and introduce on-board showers.


Development of human resource systems to the business strategy entails a one-way vertical fit. Such an alignment remains conceptualised at Emirates in various ways. Many scholars view this system as a reactive measure. However, it plays a vital role in collaborating with the business strategy to ensure successful business process.

Human Resource

Torrington, Hall, and Taylor in a study on human resource management strategies indicates that in this strategy, most business entities engage in wide-ranging methods of acquiring and maintaining a productive workforce (101). Innovation, quality enhancement, and cost reduction systems prove important in the recruitment process at the Emirates Airline. All these factors ensure that the business franchise enjoys a competitive advantage over their rivals in the market, such as Gulf Airlines Etihad, Virgin Australia Airlines, and Qatar Airways.


Different systems of management strategy exist at the Emirates Airline. For example, cost reduction strategy compels workers to invest more energy in production, while innovation strategy demands that workers engage in diverse and quality production systems that enable them develop smart and viable products and services.

Innovation as a core production input necessitates freethinking and development of new ideas within the business, hence creating chances for the management to choose the best viable ideas for implementation (Ilgen and Pulakos 57).


Within Emirates Airline, there exist proper systems of performance appraisals and employee motivation. These systems mainly focus on the long-term results and long-term goals and objective of the firm. Ilgen and Pulakos argue that in the company’s liberal job descriptions exist with employees enjoying opportunities to learn across the entire workforce needs (61). Compensation and remuneration systems offer adequate benefits such as the stock options and bonuses. Development of cooperative culture remains the main goal of the company.

Human Resource Approach

In the past, countries within the Middle East remained with limited competitive advantage in global business. The UAE, in particular, faces many challenges in demographics, unemployment issues, sustainability matters, educational concerns, and mainstream gender needs.

To counteract these problems, a nationalisation process dubbed Emiratisation came into perspective. This process aims at reducing the demand for expatriate workers and encourages focus on active participation of women in the commercial society (Randeree 73). Since the joint venture targets the UAE’s market, it will have to engage its available human resource in employment and education in line with both the Arab and Islamic customs and traditional practices.

The major target of the employment opportunities remain the nationalisation of the Emirates with focus rapidly shifting to women. Emirates Airline boasts of an established system of employee and mentorship program that is essential for employee development and productivity at the workplace (Randeree 76).

Drivers of change within HR

External environments provide opportunities for business development. However, it comes with major constraints to the venture; such constraints affect proper functioning of HR departments.

At the airline company, external stakeholders such as government, media, environmentalists, local community organisation, and consumer advocates coupled with external factors like legislative regulations, competition, technology, and market trends may influence strategy formulation, thus necessitating changes in the HR department. Similarly, internal organisational culture, continued coalition within the workforce, and employee civil strives also necessitates changes in the HR strategy.

Performance Appraisal

Emirates employees, especially the workforce in the airline sector play essential functions in the venture. The flying crew, for instance, must exhibit paramount responsibility in transporting clients while making sure that they offer satisfying and enjoyable services. The flying crew believes in maintaining diligence and efficiency in order to satisfy customers and retain them as well. Inadequacies and inefficiencies may result in exodus of customers, thus reducing the profit margins (Carter, Giber, and Goldsmith 142).

Optimising performance among the flying crew employee remains a major objective in the Emirate Airlines. To increase service delivery, the company ensures that the selected flying staffs develop their personal and professional skills through specific and inclusive training programmes.

The HR department at the Emirates Airline performs frequent performance valuations the workforce to determine their attitudes towards work, skills’ relevance, and personalities. Similarly, such performance assessments play an integral role in recommending promotions, work reallocations, and determining compensation packages.

Performance Development

Performance development strategy exits within the Emirates Airline; the section provides a wide range of services aimed at assisting the managers within the business to make overall improvement in the workforce performances. Performance development program aims at facilitating long-term thinking and planning, supporting workforce realignment to production processes and technology, and ensuring that the production process remains simple, innovative, efficient, and effective.

Emirates Airline’s management team boasts of wider resource bases for developing talents and supporting production process. At the same time, the personal development program ensures that employees engage freely in innovation processes in order to improve the overall productivity.

In the multi-disciplinary facet of the group, cross-functional teams exist to ensure that every aspect of the company remains into perspective in the development of new ideas of production. The management system of the airline firm engages in competitive job allocation process with productivity, innovativeness, and hard work forming the basis of gauging the prospective employees in interviews (Carter et al.149).

Communications and Employee Engagement

Communication link between employees and the company exist in the Emirates Airline in which team leaders report on the progress of various teams. This link provides an avenue for successful presentation of dissatisfaction and compliments between the two parties.

Similarly, it provides an ample ground for employees to express their opinions on the day-to-day management of the production process. On the same note, horizontal communication among employees is vital. Middle level managers and low tier employees involved in cross-functional team continuously engage each other in production segments. This provides an avenue for information sharing and ideas appreciation thus leading to high productivity (Verghese 243).

Verghese goes further to note that senior leadership and management team remains responsible for setting out proper communication mechanisms within an organisation (257).

Engaging employees at all level ensures employees’ voices remain active in the communication system since this informs the employees on all the on-going issues within the company, thus creating the opportunity for building psychological contracts with the employers. Such a communication system plays an important role in employee engagement resulting into better performance, employee retention, and general well-being of the company.

Emirates’ Culture

Emirates Airline remains a centralised organisation with the top management defining both decisions and strategies of development (Emirates Group par. 11). The Emirates Group’s CEO and the chairperson, His Highness Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, play an important role as the leader of the group; he believes in workplace diversity, and encourages open communication within the company to strengthen the bond among the stakeholders.

Even though these departments have sub-groups and thematic teams for specialised service delivery, the main goal of the entire company remains offering quality services and products. The Emirates Airline invests a lot in intensive training and employee development to ensure that the team achieves the goals of satisfying customers’ needs. Finney in her studies argues that, these factors make the company to enjoy a pool of talented labour force, thus gaining solid ground in the global market (27).

Such a strategy enables the company to engage in independent business as opposed to group business, as evident in the flight service provision. The independence of service delivery ensures fast decision-making due to the few stakeholders involved in the process. Such initiatives coupled with intensive corporate citizenship and social responsibility that are needed for international branding and advertisement ensures that the client base remains large in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the crowded market.

Behavioural Models

Emirates Airline stands out as the most prominent airline in the Middle East. Sustainable business model remains the sole driver of its success. Innovative employees and conducive working environment ensure that the company enjoys a competitive advantage over its rivals.

Organisational culture and production environment in the company motivate employees into productive performance, thus facilitating the achievement of the firm’s strategic objectives. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs holds that individual basic needs revolve around motivation and satisfaction. The Emirates Airline ensures that both customers and employees receive these satisfaction and motivation to remain in touch with their products and services.

Fulfilling employees’ psychological, safety, social, self-esteem, and self-actualisation needs creates a setting for adequate behavioural strategies in the company. Similarly, proper customer satisfactions ensure that customers get the value for their money, thus increasing their chances of requiring the same services. All these structures ensure that the company enjoys a competitive advantage in the market (Carter et al. 73).

Unique Attires

Emirates Airline’s staffs stand out with the world’s most unique uniform. The emirates hat, the red kick-pleat skirts, the service waist coast, a red tie, jackets and tabards chocolate brown suits, light shirt, and a caramel gives the company a powerful brand within the airline industry and outside the industry as well.

These attires give the Emirates Airline a unique branding image responsible for proper advertisements and image upgrade (Cockburn par. 6). The airline’s corporate image of innovation has helped it achieve its strategic goals and objectives, thereby earning it a global reputation for excellent services.

Independent Global Business

In the airline sector, many ventures revolve around airline alliance services and product provision. However, Emirates Airline developed a business strategy for exploiting the virgin market in the Middle East through independent service provision. This strategy has worked to their advantage since there is an ease with decision-making and planning aspects.

The company defines the kind of employees to hire and the remuneration structure to adopt contrary to an alliance setting in which several consultative forums are necessary for single decision issue in decision-making.

Kotter Steps in Implementation Independent Global Business Strategy

Independent service provision strategy became operational due to bureaucracies in decision-making in the alliance’s airline business ventures. Noting this weakness in the airline sector, Emirates leadership began to offer services from Dubai to Pakistan with a group of hardworking individual in a single leased plane. As the business grew, expansion strategy began to take centre stage and leasing became obsolete (The Emirates Group par. 2).

The company use Kotter’s 8-step change model to bring changes in its operations. The management embarked on acquisition of planes to offer services to the growing customer base. Management team developed more focus on satisfaction of customers to withstand the competition from the established airline alliances. Emphasis on employee training and motivation set in as demand for ideas increased to match the rising customer base.

As the competition from the airline alliance intensified, the Emirates Airline developed adequate strategies for achieving quick short-term goals and objectives to ensure relevance in service provision. Employees received encouragement and motivation for innovative ideas brought forward.

Management team introduced secure employment opportunities and proper compensation schemes to attract more productive workforce. These initiatives are significant in branding and advertisements of the airlines, thus leading to success as evident in the current market.

Leadership Structures and Innovation

Emirates Airline leaders highly engage in employee management and developments structures. The company takes into account employees’ needs, environmental needs, as well as the community needs. It is for this reason that the management initiated social responsibility activities without resistances. Such flexible and democratic leadership structures proved vital to the success of Emirates Airline.

As Amar denotes, diversity within the workforce in this flight company helps in the creation of an ample and innovative productive environment (97). Strong positive culture within the workforce coupled with adequate space for innovation and necessary rewards for exemplary performance help in propelling Emirates Airline over its competitors. Management structures in the company ensure the diverse and innovative workforce engages in specialised service production towards the company’s specific goals.

The company’s slogan, “Emirates: keep discovering” forms the basis for the ever-rising number of innovative ideas with Emirate Airline. One of the most outstanding ideas in the recent past remains the famous “Sydney Kangaroo route” which offers non-stop flights from Dubai to Sydney. This service maintains the company’s competitive advantage over other international companies since such flights skip stopovers in busy airports like Heathrow, London, and Paris.

Corporate Image and Communication

In the entire Emirates Group, all marketing and communication remain the sole responsibility of the corporate communication division. This division boasts of having skilled and professional teams responsible for branding, advertisements, public relations, and promotional activities of the group.

Verghese (243) explains that communication systems within an organisation play a vital role by offering a sufficient production environment within the production sector. Even though external communication is important for public relations and proper external picture in the global world, internal communication systems within the different tiers of employees is necessary to ensure smooth running of an organisation.

Works Cited

Amar, Amar Dev. Managing knowledge workers unleashing innovation and productivity. Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books, 2002. Print.

Carter, Louis, David Giber, and Marshall Goldsmith. Best practices in organization development and change: culture, leadership, retention, performance, coaching: case studies, tools, models, research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001. Print.

Cockburn, Barbara. For Uniforms, Emirates Distances Itself from Haute Couture. N.p., 9 July 2009. Web..

Finney, Martha. Building high-performance people and organizations. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008. Print.

Ilgen, Daniel, and Elaine Diane Pulakos. The changing nature of performance: implications for staffing, motivation, and development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999. Print.

Randeree, Keith. “Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Nationalisation of Human Capital: ‘Project Emiratisation’.” Research and Practice in Human Resource Management 17.1. (2009): 71-91. Print.

The Emirates Group. N.p., n.d. Web.

Torrington, Derek, Laura Hall, and Stephen Taylor. Human resource management. 5th ed. New York: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002. Print.

Verghese, Aniisu. Internal communications insights, practices, and models. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2012. Print.

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