Willow Onboarding


Hong Kong




23,000 employees

Meet the team


Tony Reynolds
General Manager, Employee Experience

Service businesses like Cathay Pacific are built on reputation and people. Their employees are why people choose to fly with them, not just once but for a lifetime. At Cathay Pacific, providing a personalised employee experience to match their award-winning customer experience falls on the shoulders of Tony Reynolds.

As the General Manager of Employee Experience, Tony makes sure all 23,000 employees in locations around their world have the culture, workplace, and technology they need in place to be happy and successful.

Using Willow Onboarding, we can connect with new starters and keep them engaged no matter where they are.
— Tony Reynolds


Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s best airlines, known for their fantastic in-flight experience and commitment to helping people live a life well travelled. Every element of their brand is carefully crafted to ensure that passengers’ travel is memorable and meaningful. But to maintain a great customer experience, the Employee Experience team knew they also needed to foster great employee experiences – including onboarding.

As the first step on the employee journey, preboarding and onboarding were the logical place to start when they considered their multi-year roadmap of employee experience initiatives. Their goals were to give both hiring managers and new starters a better onboarding experience, while also delivering on five key business drivers:

  1. Reducing administrative time and cost

  2. Improving time to productivity

  3. Ensuring "day one" readiness

  4. Increasing employee engagement

  5. Creating brand advocates

With a globally distributed workforce representing multiple brands, they wanted each and every new starter to have a personalised, relevant, and on-brand onboarding experience that reinforced the Cathay Pacific culture and commitment to quality.



In early 2016 Cathay Pacific began to search far and wide for an onboarding solution that fit their experience requirements, visiting the websites of big software providers, Googling, and asking their network for suggestions.

They quickly found that while there were a lot of onboarding software providers out there, very few were easy to use, modern, and enjoyable for admins and new hires alike.

The team at Cathay Pacific chose Willow to deliver onboarding that wouldn’t just facilitate processes and paperwork, but would educate and embed their culture before day one.


People onboarded



Improved understanding





felt prepared one week out


pages viewed


Crafting the perfect experience

As one of Hong Kong’s most desirable employers, new starters feel excited and honoured to be joining one of the world’s best airlines and are eager to learn as much as they can about the company before joining. Our goal was to build on that excitement, while answering all the questions employees have leading up to and during their onboarding.

Beyond just the delivery mechanism, Willow Onboarding, the team at Cathay Pacific also wanted help making sure the tasks and content were relevant and tailored to their different locations and employee groups. They knew segmentation would be key, since the needs of a Cadet Pilot undergoing training in Adelaide would be much different to a Baggage Services Officer in Hong Kong, or a Finance Analyst in Vancouver.

Working closely with the team in Hong Kong to conduct research with stakeholders and new employees, we found that no matter what your role:

  • Some employees have waiting times of up to a year before they start their new roles, during which time they were getting little information and weren’t feeling engaged.
  • Almost a third of employees relocate for their new roles, oftentimes with families as well. They needed information that would help them and their families move and settle into their new cities.
  • The amount of jargon in the aviation industry can make it difficult for new starters to ramp up quickly.
  • Learning all of the internal tools and systems can be a daunting prospect.
  • Using the Willow Onboarding platform, we helped the team develop the tasks, messaging, and content managers, new hires, and their onboarding buddies need to have a great start.



  • Personalised and relevant content for diverse groups
  • More educated and informed new starters
  • Reduced paperwork and admin time
  • Better support for hiring managers
  • Increased employee satisfaction