Interview: AirAsia X’s Head of People Management on digital initiatives to support employees

Phu Nguyen Event, Event News Leave a Comment

“Just imagine the total amount of time saved per employee if you reduce a process that requires 7 clicks to a mere 3 clicks.”

– Yeoh Sai Yew, Head of People Department, AirAsia X Berhad –

Following the successful Aviation Festival Asia 2018, we’re launching an eBook featuring some of the industry’s most forward-thinking digital innovators to talk about their digital innovation journey and where they think we are headed. Download our ebook here for full interviews. Below is an excerpt of our chat with Sai Yew. 

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As the Head of People, what do you see as your main role At AirAsia X?

Sai Yew: Within AirAsiaX, I support the CEO in rolling out company-wide agenda through HR deliveries. At the same time, my focus is on being a pair of ears to our employees, listening to their feedback and grievances, understanding them and acting upon their requests.

How have the key challenges in your role changed in the recent 3 – 5 years?

Sai Yew: One major change is the way we communicate with our employees. Previously, it was mainly via email and town hall meetings. Now, we have a platform called Our Workplace, something like an internal corporate Facebook Group. It’s a shared community for employees to share any work-related issues and feedback. Such an open, digital environment online allows easy access for employees to talk about any issues. It also facilitates communication not just between employee and management, but between all 20,000 employees. This totally changes the way we respond to employee feedback since everyone can now view our responses online.

As our world gets increasingly digital, how would you define great employee engagement and experience?

Sai Yew: There are pros and cons brought about by an increasingly digital world. Communication has been made faster and accessible via more platforms, which helps create more effective three-way communication with management and amongst peers. One major challenge for us then would be information control, especially sensitive ones. Balance needs to be maintained between freedom of speech and misuse of rights, as well as between sharing of constructive feedback and pure harmful venting. This is where education comes in. Constant education on how to use various platforms wisely is required in this digital age. In AirAsia, carrot is always the preferred style over the cane.

What do you think is the one biggest challenge in building and sustaining a talent pipeline for a more digital business in this industry?

Sai Yew: Technology has made the recruitment process easier, more direct, and at reduced advertising costs. Recruitment announcements used to be advertised primarily through newspapers, but now we are…


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Now entering its 15th year, Aviation Festival Asia 2019 (27 – 28 February, Singapore) is Asia’s largest airline leadership conference, gathering leaders from FSCs, LCCs and airports with a size of 150+ speakers, 1000+ delegates and total 2,000+ attendees. Want to join us? For sponsorship & exhibition enquiries, contact adam.ball@terrapinn.com or to explore speaking opportunities at the event, contact paul.clark@terrapinn.com.

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