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Thomas Cook Airlines - Case Study


The focus of this case study is on the set up and implementation of a performance management process which was completed within the three-month project timescale.



The elements of performance management project included:

  • Setting up a performance management strategy
  • Creating supporting paperwork, e.g. template documents, ‘how to guides’ for both individuals and managers, training materials
  • Objective setting
  • Keep managers informed and training them appropriately
  • Conducting an appraisal or review
  • Development planning


Hiring Context

When Flying Colours and Caledonian Airlines became members of the Thomas Cook Group and were in the process of merging to become Thomas Cook Airlines, there was an acknowledgement that their people processes should be aligned to aid cross-functionality across the group. One aspect which became more urgent during the launch of the new Thomas Cook Airlines name was the introduction of an effective Performance Management System, incorporating objective setting, performance review and development planning, for all ground staff (c500), especially as this would predict management bonuses under the Senior Management Bonus Scheme.

Thomas Cook Airlines were in the process of recruiting a permanent HR Manager, but this was at an early stage and implementation of Performance Management could not wait.  This prompted them to call on Lesley's help as a Professional Interim Manager with extensive experience of implementing and managing performance management across a range of industries.


The Challenge

The brief for the 3-month contract period was to launch Performance Management, ensuring managers understood the impact of implementation, their role in making it a success and that each manager had agreed SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed) objectives that were aligned with those of the business.


The Approach

As a first step Lesley put together and conducted a series of information sessions to which all managers were invited, outlining the reasons for, and benefits of, introducing performance management, the implementation timetable for both the senior management bonus group and those below this level. During these sessions managers had an opportunity to practise writing SMART objectives.

While these sessions were being delivered Lesley designed supporting documentation, i.e. Manager’s Guide to performance management, staff guides, performance management templates etc, which were aligned with other companies in the Thomas Cook Group but with a Thomas Cook Airlines identity.

There followed an intense period in which Lesley worked with senior managers to align their personal objectives with those of the business, with objectives flowing down from those of the Managing Director.


Assignment Outcomes

The brief was successfully achieved within the timescale in order that mnagers in Thomas Cook Airlines were working towards their objectives and would be reviewed against these objectives at the end of six months.




Heading - Clients

Genuine Client Case Studies

Additional Clients

  • Royal Yachting Association (RYA)
  • London Borough of Harrow
  • QSA Limited
  • Plenham Limited
  • British Parking Association

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