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Jet Blue Case Study Essay

This essay will examine in detail the human resource strategies, policies, and practices that were developed by Ann Rhoades who was the Executive Vice President of People at JetBlue Airways. Ms. Rhoades was very innovative with the development of the new HR policies, which up to that time had never been implemented by any other startup airline organization. Along with the strategies, policies, and practices, there were five core values that were also established. These values provided an overarching vision for JetBlue Airways in order to direct all organization activities whether internal or external. The five core values were safety, caring, integrity, fun, and passion, which from JetBlue Airway’s management viewpoint was that if employees were happy then that would lead to greater successful recruitment and greater employee retention rates, which would potentially reduce or eliminate the likelihood of a union organization attempting to unionize the company.

Three National Equal Employment Opportunity Laws

JetBlue Airways hiring practices were compliant with the equal employment opportunity laws, which included the following: • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII , which prohibits employment discrimination based on race , color , religion , sex , or national origin • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI, which prohibits against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on ground of race, color or national origin. • Equal Pay Act of 1963, which protects men and women who perform to a large extent equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination. (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2009) The hiring practices that were established by Ms. Rhoades were based upon five values, which were safety, fun, caring, integrity, and passion. These values were the cornerstone of JetBlue Airways hiring philosophy.

With that being said, JetBlue Airway’s new employment model from the time the organization was formed was to focus on selecting particular employees that would best fit into the company’s core values as opposed to focusing on the employee’s skills and experience. This innovative approach could create a work environment that would promote a higher level of satisfaction amongst the employee’s and staff, but would also create a working environment that would be more uniform, which would mean that all employees would have similar work characteristics and behaviors. However, this process of hiring requires a greater subjectivity. By Jetblue Airways own admission, they used “a targeted selection process to identify employees who were most likely to fit.” In addition, JetBlue provided customized employment packages intended to “ensure overall equity in treatment” (The case study of JetBlue Airways Starting from Scratch, 2001).

For example, when JetBlue Airways offered an employment package for flight attendants, there was a preference toward college students. This preference in hiring college students was apparent because JetBlue Airways offered more in the way of financial compensation and lower indirect benefits. In addition, JetBlue Airways also offered a variety of unique and innovative pay and compensation packages for their pilots, ramp workers, and ticket agents, which were tailored around the employee’s needs rather than the needs of the organization.

JetBlue Airways Internal Recruitment Method

The main focus of an internal recruitment process within an organization is to fill vacant positions that become open over time and or to promote an employee in lieu of seeking a candidate outside of the organization, which saves the organization from paying the training costs associated with the training of new employees. However, JetBlue Airways internal recruitment method was to recruit known veterans of the industry from competing airlines. For example, David Neelman CEO of JetBlue Airlines originally worked for Southwest Airlines as their executive vice president, so Mr. Neelman developed working relationships with many within Southwest Airlines and subsequently recruited those same people to JetBlue Airways as his management team such as Ann Rhoades.

JetBlue Airways External Recruitment Method

External recruitment by an organization can be through a variety of mediums such as advertisements, recruitment agencies, and personal recommendations. The advantage of external recruitment for an organization is that it can create a larger pool of applicants from which the organization can choose the best candidate from. JetBlue Airways followed the traditional route of advertising in a newspaper. The advertisement for reservation agents was placed in a Salt Lake City newspaper, which resulted in a waiting list of twenty five hundred applicants. The outcome of JetBlue Airways recruitment process both internal and external was very successful, which was attributed to Ann Rhoades experience in human resources. Furthermore, the strategies used by JetBlue to attract employees created a very robust and experienced management team and as aforementioned a waiting list of twenty five hundred applicants.

Personnel Selection

Many organizations utilize a standard interview selection process which consists of a pre-established interview questions in order to measure the applicant’s skills and qualifications. However, JetBlue Airways conducted an interview process for their mechanics and pilots that was very unique. The process of interviewing the pilots was based upon JetBlue Airways five values that were translated into specific undesirable and desirable behavioral situations. Interview questions were then posed in respect to the pilot’s past behavior and how that particular behavior correlated into his or her decision making process, which was very unique considering a pilot must make snap decisions every day within a very chaotic environment.

Furthermore, multiple interviewers were used in the interview process; the reasoning for the multiple interviewers was that if a pilot were to be selected for hire then all interviewers must reach a consensus rather than an average. The interview process for the mechanics was very similar to that of the pilots, but slightly different in that the mechanics were interviewed with one of the five JetBlue Airway values as the focal point of the interview. The one value was integrity, which a logical approach considering the safety of passengers and the mechanical reliability of an airplane is dependent the mechanic to do what is ethical.

Performance Appraisal System

The concept of performance appraisals have been around for over sixty years and it is a method by which a supervisor evaluates the job performance of a subordinate in a formal structured environment. This review takes the form of a periodic interview either semi annual or annual basis in which the work performance of the subordinate is examined and discussed. Weaknesses and strengths in performance are identified and the supervisor outlines opportunities for the subordinate to improve in those identified areas. The three factors that influence a performance appraisal system include the following: • The appraisal should be based on standard

• Employee should have input into development of the standard • Appraiser should be someone who has observed employee’s work 360-Degree Feedback Evaluation

360 degree feedback is an employee development feedback mechanism that is derived from employees within the company. This includes managers, coworkers, and ancillary staff, which is considered to be internal within the organization. In contrast, external feedback is derived from the customers and suppliers. It also known as multi-rater feedback system because it is concluded from several groups within and outside the company. The main reason for using the 360 degree feedback is to ascertain how you are thought of. In addition, to make the results more objective rather than subject; there is a neutral party that is involved. Lastly, 360 degree feedback provides the best insight into employee performance than any other appraisal method.

The three advantages of using the 360 degree feedback include the following: 1. As the procedure of carry out the 360-degree appraisal need to have a lot of people to do the evaluation for the staff, it may include the staff in the company, from the top (manager) to the bottom (colleagues), even some external sources such as the customers. If it is conducted well, this can give the employee a more comprehensive and accurate view for the evaluation and also it is good for the staff’s self-development. It is more comprehensive than other appraisal methods since they may only need the manager to do the evaluation.

2. It increases the credibility of the appraisal result. Since the 360-degree appraisal methods need a lot of people to finish it, as mentioned before it may include of the manager also other staff, it can reduce the unfair of the result. It is because it contain everyone’s point of view, not only the manager or any single staff, then they cannot give some comments that show the evaluated employee is very good or not, then help the staff easily get to promote to higher position or make the staff lose the job. It can show that this appraisal can help to increase the credibility of the appraisal result. 3. The feedback from the peers can help to enhance the staff’s self-development.

Not every appraisal methods will also include the feedback from the peers, that may only judge by the manager, so it is not easily show the real performance of the staff since the manager may not observe the performance of the staff in every single minutes and they may only have a blurred impression of the staff. (“Team P – The advantages and disadvantages of 360-degree appraisal in the hospitality industry”, 2007) JetBlue Airways utilized the 360-degree appraisal as a means to measure the needed training and development of its employees. In addition, 360-degree appraisal was also utilized as means of ensuring that employees were adhering to JetBlue Airways values. The dimensions that were rated in the appraisal process reflected the five values.

Factors Determining Employee Compensation

Employee compensation must be fair and equitable to the employee and must be tied directly to the employee job evaluation, but there are two important factors that can skew the rating, which in turn will reduce the compensation for the employee. The two factors are job subjectivity and rapidity with wich the job fundamentally changes, which can create an innaccurate and unreliable evaluation. The following are four factors that are essential in determining financial compensation for an employee:

• Skill/Know How
• Effort
• Responsibility
• Working Conditions
Discretionary Employee Benefits

Many organizations offer discretionary benefits to their employees. However, there are the smaller organizations that are unable to offer discretionary benefits because of the inability to afford them, so in lieu of benefits they offer a higher starting salary or may provide compensation in other ways such as more days off per year or bonuses. Furthermore, discretionary benefits are reduced for part time employees. The three most common discretionary benefits that an organization offers to their employees are health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plan. JetBlue Airways offered medical benefits, personal time off rather than the traditional holiday and 401 K, which was the retirement plan. These benefits were provided to their full and part time employees.

Conclusion

In Summary, JetBlue Airways is an organization that prides itself on taking care of their customers, but they also go to great lengths to ensure that their employees are also taken care of by offering them the highest pay in the industry and other tailored benefits, which translates into a happy employee. Would you like to work for JetBlue Airways?

References:
http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html
Gittel, J. H., O’Reilly, C (2001). JetBlue Airways Starting from Scratch. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. Pp. 1-14 (78-91). http://project.shtm.polyu.edu.hk/wiki/index.php/Team_P_-_The_advantages_and_disadvantages_of_360-degree_appraisal_in_the_hospitality_industry


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