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Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson: How to sustain growth in a fast-growing company
Campbell Wilson is a man with 'Scootitude'. As CEO of the low-cost carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, Wilson coined the term to describe the fuss-free, fun attitude he hoped the airline would portray — a quality he seeks to impart to all areas of the business.
Mr Wilson started his career with Singapore Airlines (SIA) as a marketing executive in New Zealand back in 1996, and was appointed Vice-President (Canada) in 2006 before taking on the role of General Manager in Hong Kong, then Japan. After 15 years with Singapore Airlines, Wilson was charged with launching a new low-cost carrier for the SIA Group and in 2011, Scoot was born.
Over the past five years, Wilson has grown Scoot from a team of five to one that’s now close to 900 employees. He has guided the organisation through a period of rapid expansion in both operations and workforce.
Here, the founding member and CEO of Scoot airlines discusses the company's approach to employee engagement and talent management during periods of rapid growth.
Please describe the initiatives your company took to improve its agility and efficiency.
The advantage of starting out as a 'greenfield' organisation meant that we were able to abandon legacy practices and adopt more current ones. We also promoted flexibility in our benefits. For example, employees are able to allocate where and how they use their entitlements.
We also encouraged job movements and promotions within our organisation. For example, we have a structured programme in place to grow and develop our cabin crew. This initiative has helped to retain our talent.
What programme has been put in place to aid employees’ career progression?
Career progression has went hand-in-hand with the company’s expansion. In the initial stages, we paid a premium to employ experienced professionals but as time passed, we realised the need to develop fresh talent. So we brought in employees who had lesser experience and groomed them to expand the Singapore talent pool.
What do you think is the key factor to retaining talent?
It is important to have a corporate mission and have your employees be a part of it. They need to feel engaged and that they’re able to make individual contributions. We like to encourage them to put their ideas into action and create solutions for the company.
In the Singapore context, I believe it is also very essential for the company to have a local feel and to understand the country’s culture. Avoiding the “be seen and not heard” (where employees keep quiet instead of speaking up) notion and not allowing hierarchy to burden staff also help.
Scoot is one of the major sponsors of this year’s Page Personnel Executive Assistant of the Year award. The winner will receive two ScootBiz tickets to Tokyo, featuring a roomy 22-inch wide full-leather cradle seat with 38-inch seat pitch, 8-inch recline, fully adjustable headrests and legrests, a meal and drinks included, and 30kg check-in baggage allowance. Other fantastic prizes await. For more details of the competition, click here.
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