The company believes that transparency is always beneficial because it translates in to honesty and reliability. Hence a southwest airline has launched a blog known as “Nuts about Southwest” which is a forum where customers and employees communicate and discuss of their issues. There is a cultural committee set which is comprised of 127 members from different parts of the company. Through this the Top management makes it sure that a couple visits each year are made to meet the employees.
These meetings give management the opportunity to learn about the concerns and problems being faced by their employees. This action makes employees feel that the people they are working for care for them. A new city committee is formed which is goes to every new city Southwest starts to serve and educates its employees about company values and culture. “Back to basics” was a team set to carry out an essay contest to describe “what makes Southwest work”. These best written essays were selected and compiled in to a book which is now given to every new employ of the company.
This initiative made the employees feel wanted and treasured. The basic channel for employee input is the company’s open door policy which encourages employees to write to the CEO about their concerns, issues, suggestions or questions. These are forwarded to the top management on daily basis and appropriate responses are produced to each. Such a high degree of ease in communication has resulted in outstanding employee satisfaction. Southwest management also believed in making their employees act as owners.
The company provides daily news update on intranet, quarterly earnings performance in the shape detailed financial information known as “Knowing the Score. ” It also publishes a 32-page magazine every month and newsletter known as LUV line which not only rotates information within the organization but also highlights outstanding employees’ performance which in itself becomes a great source of motivation. British Airways management focuses on the importance of communication within the organization.
It employs different tools to make communication easy and transparent for its employees. Mainly, the news letters and meetings give employees a chance of communicating their concerns. However, the focus of such meetings remains business and unlike SW the management does not go out of its way to inculcate family like values. The employees can not directly communicate their issues with the top management but are allowed to put up issues in front of their immediate bosses.
However, a major step by British Airways to have a wider and more effective communication was to launch a program that would make TV broadcasts to its employees daily. The basic structure of SW is similar to that of the industry, which is highly characterized by automated schedules, extreme emphasis on efficiency and consistency of high performance, formalization and standardization of tasks and activities. The employees are expected to behave like clocks and machines when it comes to flight preparation.
The bottom line to describe their structural strategy is termed as “loose-tight policy” which focuses on high degree of adherence to rules and procedures when it comes to operations but at the same time adopting a customer friendly approach to make customers feel relaxed and secure. The organizational chart is a simple one with three executive vice presidents of Corporate Services, Customers and Operations reporting to the CEO and all the lower levels report to them. Such hierarchy enables the management to keep their efficiency consistent by being able to recognize the responsibilities and rights of each element in the network.
The organization chart of British Airways is relatively flat with one level of hierarchy which separates top from the bottom line employees. The organization is divided into ten departments Planning, Investment & Alliances, Commerce, Ground Operation, Engineering, Flight Operation, IT, Finance, Law, and Human Resource. The departmentalization ensures standardization and easy monitoring of performance. The departmentalization in British Airways makes it evident that the management focuses on specialization of labor and strict control on monitoring and feedback.