Even during these most challenging of times for the airline and tourism sectors, the pride and fulfillment felt by employees of Canada’s Transat A.T. Inc. is palpable.

It comes across loud and clear in recent videos like “Transat, As Seen By Its Employees” and “Air Transat Jerusalema Challenge.” From maintenance staff to in-flight crew members, many of Transat’s dedicated employees have been at the company for years. They are attracted not just by benefits, such as discounts on resort stays and airline tickets to anywhere the company operates in the world, but also by a nurturing and caring atmosphere going back to the days when founder Jean-Marc Eustache would walk the floors talking to employees.

As a leading leisure travel company that offers vacation packages and flights to destinations of choice in the Americas and Europe, Transat has a firm commitment to sustainable tourism development. In 2018, it became the first major international tourism company to be Travelife certified for all its tour operating activities. This recognition highlights Transat’s ongoing efforts over the past 15 years to support communities, reduce its environmental impact, raise awareness of sustainability among its partners and customers, and last but not least, involve its employees.

And the reason is simple. Transat knows a company committed to ensuring the well-being of others must first guarantee that of its employees. That’s why it counts “workplace” as one of its four pillars of action and strives to implement programs that build employee engagement, support its people, and help advance their careers.

HR Transformation Beginning with Learning and Performance Management

To build this engagement and allow its people to perform at their best, a company of Transat’s size needs intuitive and efficient human capital management (HCM) systems.  Transat’s learning and performance management systems were anything but, tying teams up with tedious, spreadsheet-based processes.

The tourism company was already using SAP software for core human resource (HR), payroll, and time sheets, so it opted to implement the SAP SuccessFactors Learning and SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals solutions, part of SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite. It worked closely with SAP Preferred Success services not just to get the most from the solutions’ functionality, but also to train system administrators, prepare for new releases, and provide IT support.

With SAP SuccessFactors Learning, Transat now onboards and trains new employees through class-based training created for specific groups such as call center agents. It can track training more easily, acquire extra modules on soft or technical skills as needed, and customize the software intuitively — for example, to offer training on a specific travel destination.

SAP SuccessFactors Learning even proved useful during Transat’s Recognition Week. Top management are very involved in this fun annual event to thank employees, with the president and vice president even serving employees at a lunch during the week. People were able to use SAP SuccessFactors Learning to book activities from nutrition classes and cooking demos to comedy sessions, showing how the solution is a vital tool for increasing engagement.

And when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Transat was able to use SAP SuccessFactors Learning to speedily roll out a range of programs to help employees deal with working remotely while balancing family responsibilities and dealing with a high level of uncertainty.

Career Development Based on Transparency and Consistency

SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite helps Transat’s people grow not just skills but also their careers. SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals underlies a process of continuous improvement in which managers and employees can hold discussions to review objectives, achievements, difficulties, priorities, and needs — for example, tools or training — as well as overall employee well-being. At the end of the year, Transat then calibrates its performance evaluations to make sure they are consistent across the business before translating them into pay increases.

This supports high employee satisfaction and engagement because individuals can see a clear link between performance and salary raises thanks to a transparent evaluation process. And the tools available in SAP SuccessFactors solutions make life easier for both HR partners and top management, with decisions made during the meeting and entered in the system in real time.

With new CEO Annick Guérard at the helm, Transat is setting a course for the company’s post-pandemic reinvention. This includes refocusing the tour operator as a leisure airline.

With SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite at their side, Transat’s employees are well equipped to help reinvent the company and to rise to whatever challenges and opportunities come next.

Read more about Transat’s HR transformation.

Kristin Muellner is director of Customer Stories and Reference Engagement at SAP.