Designing a needs assessment for the airline

HRD programs can be key components when an organization seeks to revitalize itself and change its organizational culture. For instance, Cathay Pacific Airways is an international airline based in Hong Kong that serves over eighty-five destinations on five continents. In 2003, Cathay Pacific carried over 10 million passengers, and also maintained a considerable cargo operation. Worldwide, approximately 14,000 people work for the airline. A survey in the 1990s revealed that travelers felt that Cathay Pacific service was good, but not as warm and friendly as customers desired. Some even described the service as “robotic.” This led to a reexamination of how the company recruited, trained, and managed its employees.
One major change that Cathay Pacific made was in its in-flight training department. In the past, trainers devised and followed careful lesson plans. This was intended to provide a set standard of service on all flights. However, to increase customer retention, especially among business travelers, Cathay Pacific decided that something more was needed.
Assume you are a training manager at this airline. First, how would you go about designing a needs assessment for the airline?

What methods would you use to design training that emphasized exceptional customer service? Second what type(s) of training would you recommend for flight attendants, if the new goal was to provide exceptional customer service?

How might the training programs themselves have to change in order to promote innovation and collaboration among flight attendants, as well as from the trainers?

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