“Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”, reads the title of J.C. Maxwell’s book, and it is, quite possibly, the best 5-word sentence to explain the success of Kraków’s Cathay Pacific Global Centre.
Launched in April 2016, Cathay’s Kraków office now operates in 8 languages, on a daily basis. It is the only Cathay Pacific centre in CEE, with the nearest one situated in Mumbai (5785 km away). Its main activity areas cover reservations and ticketing for passengers, travel agencies and corporate clients of Cathay Pacific in Europe, Middle East and South Africa. The Kraków office, situated 8416 km from the Hong Kong headquarters now employs 117 people (100 customer-contact specialists), and since its launch has already addressed about 500 000 customer enquiries. Located on the 8th floor of Aleje Pokoju 5, Cathay boasts a beautiful, panoramic view of Kraków.
Time flies! The company now celebrates two years in the City of Polish Kings, a period marked by continuous progress and important milestones, which above all, have demonstrated that nothing is as important as having the right people, who build the right teams, who ultimately understand what customer experience should be all about. Two years on, I talk to Magdalena Weiner, KRK Hub Manager:
Łukasz Cioch: You had a very successful launch in Kraków, with dozens of media stories, a cultural event in the Market Square and a press conference hosted by the city mayor, has this kind of publicity been helpful in getting the right employees during the critical phase of Cathay’s Kraków launch? Two years ago, Kraków was already a very competitive job market.
Magdalena Weiner: All of these factors were, of course, very helpful, and back then, we had a clear goal – to attract the most talented staff available in Kraków, and I couldn’t be more proud today saying we have fulfilled that goal to our full satisfaction. We received over 4000 job applications in total. I suppose it is fair to say that with the rate of 40 candidates per job available, we are more popular than the Faculty of Law at the Jagiellonian University.
In your eyes, what makes Cathay so special as an employer?
We empower people to become their best selves, while valuing diversity and individual approach to problem-solving. We know that one size doesn’t always fit all, and our company culture is all about people. We are also the only employer in Kraków who offers “Life Well Travelled” to its own team!
How about some hard data to support your claims?
Cathay employees attach a lot of value to what we offer them. Over the past 2 years, we have only had 2 or 3 team members looking for another job. In the global employee satisfaction survey, KRK GCC is Cathay’s top 3 in Europe and top 10 worldwide. It is an objective reference, and I have to say it makes a huge difference to work with teams who are happy and truly committed to what they do, and why they do it in the first place.
You have personally participated in the recruitment process of every single employee in this company, can you think of a situation you found really surprising during this process?
There are so many wonderful stories. We have Tom, a Dutchman living in Thailand who moved to Kraków specifically for this job. Kasia, a 62 years old ex-British-Airways employee, whose dream was to work with us. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out eventually but she still comes to visit from time to time. We have a wonderful girl who didn’t pass the first stage of the assessment centre and then came back to ask for a second chance and achieved mind-blowing results during the interview. Every group assessment (and we had more than 50) is still fresh in my memory.