Amadeus Labs: Its Technology Shapes the Future of Travel; its People Shape the Organization

 Mani Ganeshan, APAC Delivery Head & Centre Head,  Shalini Nair Kumar, Sr. Director - People, Culture, Facilities, Communications & Brand

Mani Ganeshan
APAC Delivery Head & Centre Head

Today, employees want to have fun and follow their passion while at their desk with the same ease as getting a Eureka moment on the new product feature while in a movie theatre. What better way to ensure the higher utilization of such appealing policies & practices than empowering the employeesto design the program themselves? Proffering precisely this is Amadeus Labs, the 2nd largest Centre of Excellence worldwide for Amadeus – one of the world’slargest travel technology provider, where all of the travel industry comes together to facilitate a better travel experience and take the traveller’s delight up a few notches. Amadeus Labs began its operations in Bangalore only six years ago, and in a short span of time, has gone from approximately 400 people to 2200 people and growing who work on several critical aspects of Amadeus platform across all travel verticals, including airlines, car rental companies, hotels & hospitality, rail, airports and more.

The opportunity to delight every traveller by making their travel experience fast and efficient through their daily work proves to be a big driver for Amadeus’ employees. The fact that they are an essential cog in a 19,000people strong global organization, and exposure of working in a multi-cultural environment (France, London, Sydney, Boston and more) within the Amadeus worldwide network, proves to be very valuable career exposure. Being a CoE for Amadeus IT Group, talent is at the heart of Amadeus Labs’ priorities with a vision to be the technology powerhouse for Amadeus Worldwide. To achieve this vision, it is imperative that business and talent strategy are well aligned, and Amadeus does this very efficiently by co-creating employee experiences workplace culture that stands very high on its priorities, hence all its employee engagement initiatives have been designed to personify the four core tenets of their culture – Open, Participative, Consultative and Inclusive.

In keeping with these cultural tenets began an ambitious journey - Amadeus ForceOne, an employee taskforce, created to move towards an employee driven model (encompassing CSR, Organization Culture, Celebrations, Communications and cross functional Collaboration) acts as the key influencer to the management about the areas to invest in while creating a pool of brand ambassadors for Amadeus Labs. This unique volunteering opportunity gives employees a chance to be included in all key management decisions and be part of the core team that executes these.

Healthy Workforce
In IT and R&D setup, people are glued to their seats and have very little time to manage health. Amadeus Labs is extremely passionate about its people’s health & wellness, providing extremely nutritious meals thrice a
dayin office and a health menu for fitness enthusiasts. It further sponsors annual health check-up for their entire family, organizes bi-annual wellness week, yoga workshops, gym facilities via health club memberships, cancer awareness sessions & wellness assessment kiosks, or making doctor, nurse & physiotherapists available in-house at no cost to the employee. Its commitment to employee well-being reflects in the annual gifts it gives-out each year, including bicycles, fitbits and air purifiers. Also paying great attention to emotional & mental well being, Amadeus Labs has implemented an online counselling program where employees can reach-out to counsellors completely anonymously for emotional or psychological support, for themselves and their family members.

Women Empowerment
Amadeus Labs has not only instituted the government-mandated 26 weeks of paid maternity leave policy way ahead of the industry, but also allows them to extend their leave based on their health condition. It offers 16-week long paid leave for adopting/commissioning mothers and six-week long leave in case of miscarriage/medical termination of pregnancy to help them gain back their physical and emotional health. With women constituting almost 30 percent of its workforce, the company has instituted policies like NEST, a tie-up with day cares, and provides transport facility with security. Notably, women are paid equitably and offered similar roles & opportunities like men. Amadeus Labs even analyses the appraisal & rating process to ensure that women are treated equally. Amadeus has consistently scored 90+ points in several external industry surveys & internal employee surveys related to gender & age diversity. This clearly displays their commitment and priority on being an equal opportunity employer.

Women are encouraged to grow in their current roles and bring-in more women into the workforce through referral programs every year in March, during which women referrers are better monetarily incentivized with a higher referral bonus as compared to the other months. Women are encouraged to represent Amadeus at Industry forums, especially Women only Industry Hackathons and conferences. In the past two years, the percentage of women in Amadeus Labs’ senior leadership team has grown by 15 percent, which is a clear indication of the enablement the environment provides to them.

The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) committee at Amadeus Labs comprising of a good mix of men & women (including a legal counsel) ensures a fair hearing and complete confidentiality to any employee who raises a concern regardless of which gender they belong to. Amadeus Labs launched a massive campaign last year to educate the workforce about the company’s ethics policies, enable them to know what is ethical workplace behaviour and empower them to speak-up if a situation demands the need to.

Nurturing Professional & Personal Growth
Instilling an innovative mindset, Amadeus Labs ensures that its people actively participate in internal & external hackathons, ideathons, annual coding challenge, industry forums, research paper publication, patent
mining workshops, Futurize – an idea generating initiative, and others. For instance, in Amadeus’ Innovation Board and buddies – a dedicated innovation board comprising of many innovation buddies, animating innovation from Bangalore. Amadeus Labs nurtures personal & professional growth its certification policy and higher education assistance program.

Amadeus Labs’ employees chart-out their own agendas & calendars, besides driving initiatives internally like Sync (encapsulating sports, adventure, music, toastmaster club, theatre & more) and a Geek (inviting leading industry speakers), which are funded by Amadeus Labs and managed by employees.

Shalini Nair Kumar, Sr. Director – People,Culture, Facilities, Communications & Brand

Fostering Future Leaders
As the 2012-founded company has already grown into the second largest site for Amadeus, shouldering increasingly critical responsibilities, it heavily invests in middle & senior leadership layers to effectively manage this growth, apart from hiring nearly 100 young engineers from tier-1 & 2 universities annually. With a special focus on leadership development, Amadeus Labs has recently deployed robust leadership development programs like Amadeus Leadership Development Program (ALDP) which is an intensive 15 day program that involves industry exposure, conversations with leading academicians and insights from the Global leadership team for chosen Associate Directors with IESE School of Business, Madrid, a leading business school in the world which was formed in partnership with the prestigious Harvard Business School. They also run global mentoring programs to develop the next layer of leaders. For the managerial layer, specific programs called MORPHEUS, FORTIUS and CITIUS have been created to accelerate their development into future leaders through structured learning and development interventions.

The Amadeus Labs growth story will further evolve with sharp focus on increasing the ownership carried by the Indian team and the number of critical decisions made out of India, its keen focus on is people and the culture that draws its employees to work each day. In conclusion, like Amadeus Labs says, ‘Our Technology shapes the future of travel, our people shape us’.

Key Management:
Mani Ganeshan, APAC Delivery Head & Centre Head
The hallmark of a great leader is to personify the organizations’ values before imparting them to the employee base. Mani is one such leader,who embodies the organization’s ‘Customer First’ value and leads by example. He trulyleads the change that he wants to see.

•India – Bangalore
•Global HQ– Madrid, Spain