employer branding at zurich airport.

Despite all the upheaval in the travel sector, Zurich Airport was still named the company people in Switzerland would most like to work for in the 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research. Head of Human Resources, Bruno Zanella, puts the success down to Zurich Airport’s culture of togetherness,honest dialogue, and mutual trust. How has Zurich Airport created his winning culture and how does it influence its employer brand? How has this culture helped the workforce come through the pandemic, and prepare for the challenges ahead?

Heart in hand (e.g. sustainability, kindness, social awareness) in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.
Heart in hand (e.g. sustainability, kindness, social awareness) in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.

Earlier in 2021, Randstad interviewed 190,000 people across 34 markets for its annual Employer Brand Research. One of the clearest findings was that how you treat your employees and make them feel have a huge influence on your employer brand. Perhaps no more so than during the turmoil of COVID-19. More than two-thirds of participants now feel more loyal to their employers as a result of the support they’ve received during the pandemic. From an employer brand perspective, this care for the workforce is an authentic demonstration of company’s purpose, values, and culture.

Zurich Airport is living proof. Most passenger flights were grounded as the pandemic took hold. Around 90% of airport staff had to work from home, and a third faced reduced hours; But all the time, the bond between management and employees remained strong. Zurich Airport’s place as Switzerland’s favorite employer is a testament to this.

Success by culture of togetherness, honest dialogue and mutual trust.

Bruno Zanella
Head of Human Resources at Zurich Airport

Bruno Zanella believes that this ‘all for one’ spirit doesn’t materialize overnight. Rather, it’s built up in the cultural fabric of an organization over many years: "We value openness and honesty within our company. When management promises something, we ‘walk the talk’. To support this, we have regular townhalls to get views from our people. We also encourage them to put forward and implement suggestions as part of our ‘Kaizen’ continuous improvement program. Just as importantly, we’re keen to break down barriers between management and employees – our CEO works in an open plan office alongside everyone else, for example. For my part. I report directly to the CEO, which helps to make sure that people are at the top of the agenda."

This care and commitment are further reflected in Zurich Airport’s apprenticeship program: "We want to give something back to society by developing valuable skills, and providing experience for people in our community. Around 90% of our apprentices actually take up positions in other companies once they qualify. But we’re proud to have given them that start, and the economic benefits and goodwill this fosters."

Staying home - Available for a blue, Turquoise and white background. Please use the version for the background color as indicated in the file name. The zip file contains the illustration in EPS, PNG, SVG and AI format.
Staying home - Available for a blue, Turquoise and white background. Please use the version for the background color as indicated in the file name. The zip file contains the illustration in EPS, PNG, SVG and AI format.

time to walk the talk

For Bruno, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity for Zurich Airport to demonstrate that it really does ‘walk the talk’: “From a business perspective, it’s been tough. Our revenues halved almost overnight. But we were still determined to be there for our people. The real test of culture and trust is what you do in the difficult times as well as the good,” he says.

Bruno believes that open communication is critical. Frequent briefings were one of the central planks of the crisis plan that was in place ready to go when COVID-19 struck: "For us, one of the most important priorities has been reassuring people about their jobs and futures. We made it clear that despite the fall in income, we would stand by them. Out of a workforce of around 1700, we’ve only had to let 26 people go."

For us, one of the most important priorities has been reassuring people about their jobs and futures.

Bruno Zanella
Head of Human Resources at Zurich Airport

You can download and read the full interview with Bruno Zanella, head of human resources at Zurich Airport.