BA100: 24. “Putting People First”

100 Years Of British Airways: “Putting People First”, the training programme for tens of thousands of BA staff in the 1980s.

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British Airways, "The World's Favourite Airline", 1983.
British Airways, “The World’s Favourite Airline”, 1983.

This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.

Note many articles have been updated since they were first published.

“Putting People First” was a training programme designed by Danish Firm Time Manager International for over 20,000 front-line BA employees in the early 1980s.

The aim of the two day training course was to motivate staff “to enjoy giving good customer service to the airline’s customers, dealing with stress and difficulties, and how to make the most effective contact with people”.

It also had the aim of “enabling different groups of employees to appreciate and understand their interdependence upon one another for a congenial ‘people orientated environment’ which in turn forms the basis for focusing the airline’s attention on the customer and meeting his or her needs.”

It is widely credited with helping turn around BA’s image in the 1980s. It was followed up the training programmes for tens of thousands more staff who weren’t in direct contact with customers as well as a programme “Managing People First” for BA managers.

BA also launched a TV advertising campaign “Supercare” in 1985 to highlight the effectiveness of the training programme, featuring front line BA staff performing extraordinary feats to assist customers outside of the airport and aircraft.

You can continue reading our 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA in numerical order, by theme or by decade.

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