Employee engagement at KLM reaches new heights as crew share expertise on enterprise social platform

Today’s post was written by Simone Louwers, director of communications for Inflight Services at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Simone LouwersAt KLM, we want to become the most customer-centric, innovative and efficient European network carrier. As director of communications for Inflight Services, I’m passionate about helping the company achieve this goal. I’ve worked for KLM for 20 years, and since we deployed enterprise social media, I see a significant improvement in communication between our teams. Enterprise internal social media enables faster decision making and helps to improve our business processes. As a result, KLM Inflight Services is achieving tangible improvements in customer service and business efficiency.

Inflight Services is a division of KLM with 9,300 employees. While our 9,000 cabin crew members are our front-line ambassadors, our back office staff play an integral role in keeping things running smoothly. My team is, among other things, responsible for all strategic communication between cabin crew and back office staff within our division. Today, wherever KLM flies, crew use Yammer on their mobile devices to engage in a seamless, real-time network to provide feedback for back office staff or ask questions and receive answers. For example, when there was a shortage of drink items on certain flights, a cabin crew member posted the issue on Yammer and the error was resolved very quickly.

It’s only been three months since we launched Yammer, but more than 5,000 employees post more than 100 new posts a week. Our rapid adoption rate proves that Yammer is filling a real need for seamless communication that help us work together as an efficient network. Teams are using Yammer to report challenges, to share innovative new ideas and streamline business processes. Suggestions, customer feedback, questions or reports of issues receive replies within approximately 24 hours, significantly boosting our response time and business agility. This is corporate community management at its best. Cabin crew often share engaging stories that reinforce the pride we take in providing exceptional service or brainstorm on how to arrange special initiatives for passengers.

Real-time, reliable communication through Yammer also improves critical business processes, such as safety training and procedures. When the Crew Safety and Security Training department asked for ways to improve safety training, crew members provided suggestions that enriched training and improved safety. Cabin crew members use Yammer to expedite issue resolution, for example, loading the wrong Inflight Sales magazine on European flights. All it took was a post on Yammer to alert the product department. Action to resolve the problem took place within a day.

Staff enjoy that they can actually see who they are talking to, instead of supplying feedback via an anonymous email address. This type of direct communication through Yammer empowers and engages our cabin crew, who share innovative ideas with colleagues to raise the overall level of on-the-job knowledge. Sustainability is very important to KLM, so when a crew member discovered a better way to fold and recycle sandwich boxes and posted the idea to Yammer, with an accompanying picture, management quickly adopted the suggestion as a new company procedure.

Yammer is a great tool for employee empowerment. Back office staff use Yammer to share customer feedback that highlight great service, helping the company to reinforce to our cabin crew that their ideas and work are of great value to the airline and our passengers.

—Simone Louwers