Zurich Airport was named Switzerland’s second most attractive employer this year. After coming in fifth place in previous years, Zurich Airport managed to break into the top 3 this year. I spoke with Bruno Zanella, Head of Human Resources at Zurich Airport, about their employer brand.
Mr. Zanella, how do you account for the gratifying leap from fifth place onto the winner’s podium?
Zurich Airport PLC offers many exciting roles in an interesting setting and radiates positivity. The airport owes its good image to a safe and smooth operation in the fascinating world of aviation. This high quality is only possible thanks to a motivated and committed workforce. You simply want to be a part of it.
Zurich Airport is growing. To what extent do you find your employer brand helps you find the required personnel?
The reality is that we have no great problems finding the right employees. The number of applications we receive for advertised positions is pleasing. The candidates we invite see how efficiently we operate and, above all, experience a positive corporate culture. As a result, their gut also tells them they want to work with us. Of course, the financial terms, social security benefits, fringe benefits and development opportunities must also be right.
This year’s Randstad Award was presented under the motto of ‘commitment’. What are you doing to keep your employees committed long-term?
Our HR policy is primarily focused on good management culture, as this has the greatest impact on satisfaction and consequently on the commitment of employees. The good management culture here is fostered by managers with excellent social competencies who can purposefully challenge and support employees. We in HR must exercise our influence to ensure positions are filled with suitable and well-qualified managers. We are keen to support further training as a result.
The Employer Branding study we undertook this year showed that a comfortable working environment was highly valued by women and Generation Z especially, and that they would even name it as the main reason for staying with an employer. What makes the work atmosphere at Zurich Airport unique?
The positive spirit of the airport’s employees. What we are talking about is an 'airport virus'. Once you have contracted it, you cannot shake off the fascination you feel and you want to carry on working at the airport. Of course, this virus can only thrive in the right conditions, which are created by the positive corporate culture I mentioned earlier. We also take care to treat all employees equally. Furthermore, a healthy work-life balance also pays off long-term.
Where do you see the greatest challenges in employer branding for Swiss companies in general and for Zurich Airport in particular?
In general, I think it is important that budgets are not simply used to get an external consultancy firm to create a positive employer brand. If employer brand promises are not backed up with proof, the brand will fall apart very quickly. What is important is a positive management and corporate culture. If this has been built up, then it is possible to take the positive corporate culture to the outside world. This is a demanding communication task.
Zurich Airport is the second-most popular airport in the world and the second-most popular employer in Switzerland. What are you doing to secure first place next year?
We are very proud that we already number among the most popular airports and employers. Whether we are 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th is secondary in this regard. Our target is to stay at this level and to keep competing at the top. We strive for this with great commitment!
This interview was conducted in writing.
About the interviewee:
Bruno Zanella has worked for Zurich Airport PLC since 2009 and is Chairman of the BVK Pension Fund Board. In his free time, the father of two children and marathon runner uses the airports as a private pilot.