Case ID: 801354     Solution ID: 36872     Words: 1490 Price $ 45

JetBlue Airways Starting from Scratch Case Solution


JetBlue Airlines, the advanced participant in the flight organizations industry went from the preparatory improvement on the hierarchical presence circuit continuously underneath fruitful power including Neeleman as the organization head. JetBlue Airways is in the formalization period on the presence point from where there would be an incredible for the era of procedures with a specific end goal to handle the mind boggling undertaking of organization's outer and inward administration. In like manner, as the organization's benefits are expanding, it needs to adjust itself to whatever is left of the earth to change the introductory achievement period into a managed achievement way for the organization. Human asset administration and organization's way of life are likewise the fundamental worries of the organization to be kept up through legitimate system definition.

JetBlue Airways: Starting from Scratch
Selecting the Right People Ann Rhoades placed enormous importance on hiring the right people. "To me, hiring is the most important thing you can do if you know what you want to look like." Barbara Shea, a colleague of Rhoades in the People Department, saw her job as hiring people with great attitudes. Often, this meant that she had to look for people without previous airline experience. 

Taking the five values as a guide, ]etBlue used a targeted selection process to identify employees who were most likely to fit. In this process, the five values were systematically translated into specific desirable and undesirable behaviors and questions were then asked with respect to applicants' past behavior. For example, applicants were asked to recall incidents in a previous job in which they exhibited a particular behavior, to describe how they arrived at the decision to take the action, and to describe the consequences of the action. A pilot, for example, would be asked to talk about a time he or she had a customer request that was in conflict with company policies and what actions he or she took. Multiple interviewers were used and the interviewers had to come to a consensus decision (not an average) before anyone could be hired. In describing how this process worked in practice, Rhoades recounted how a mechanic who was being interviewed was asked to think of a time that "integrity" was an issue in his previous employment. He described how as a junior mechanic, he got a plum job at a major airline. Soon afterward, he was pressured to certify an aircraft for an international flight, even though it wasn't in complete compliance. He refused to "sign offl1 on the airplane and the flight was delayed, much to the annoyance of management. The mechanic was subsequently let go, reflecting the obvious displeasure of his superiors. "We hired him,11Rhoades said. In another instance, she refused to hire a pilot because of his arrogance. Dave Barger described how, in pilot recruitment, JetBlue not only looked for a high comfort level with computers but also paid careful attention to cultural fit. In his view, this practice had paid off because happy pilots were a great source for recruiting their friends from competing airlines. Barger underscored the importance of cultural fit by noting that unlike most airlines, JetBlue covered the cost of the seven weeks of pilot training for qualification on the A320--roughly $30,000. Attrition after such an investment was costly, so finding people who fitted into the organization was critical. But the hiring process wasn't perfect and about 20 people were let go in the first year. Barbara Shea recounted that she framed her feedback to employees in terms of how the individual didn't live the values. She recalled how a week earlier she had fired a person based on her lack of fit with the values. After listening to her explanation, the person actually apologized to Shea for not having lived up to her own expressed commitments. Other HR Practices JetBlue was still a small company and, as such, had not fully developed all the formal HR practices typically seen in a larger firm. However, consistent with their emphasis on hiring people who fit, great emphasis was placed on the initial orientation for employees. The orientation included talks by Dave Barger, the COO, describing why the company existed and what its aspirations were, and by Neeleman on what it took to make money in their industry and how each person's job performance could affect this. Ann Rhoades always began her portion of the orientation program by describing the three things that she believed all employees had to do if they were to be successful with JetBlue: (1) they had to show up and be productive; (2) they had to be safe, which meant no alcohol or drugs; and (3) they had to be customer-oriented. She then linked these to the company's

jetBlue Airways: Starting from Scratch

values and the behaviors that were expected. Other aspects of the orientation included discussions of safety and the importance of the 30-minute turnaround process. Rhoades believed that, as they grew, more formal training and development processes would be needed. She had already introduced a 360-degree performance management process (called a "320degree" process to reflect their use of A320 aircraft). The dimensions rated in this process reflected the five core values. JetBlue managers were sensitive to the importance of communication within the firm. For example, AI Spain knew from previous experience that measurement of delays had the potential to undermine teamwork: We all come from airlines where finger-pointing was the international salute. We don't want to be so metric-oriented that we forget to focus on the customer's experience. We only discuss delays if it's going to be productive. 27 As part of his effort to avoid a culture of blame, Spain used the term "flight clarification report" and de-emphasized the search for which group was primarily responsible for causing the delay. Because Dave Barger felt that the best way to convey the values was through one-on-one conversations, he scheduled visits to each of the company's 20 locations at least once a quarter. "In principle," he said, "the supervisor is another important component of communicating with the front-line though, so far, we really haven't done the training for this role." Communication with front-line employees was also achieved through the formation of Tiger Teams to solve problems that emerged in any area of the company. Rhoades explained: When we have a problem, I pick the worst complainers and put them on a Tiger Team. 

They get together to solve the problem, then come back to me with a recommendation.28 JetBlue managers were also sensitive to the power of language. All employees were referred to as "crew members" and supervisors as "coaches." As at Southwest Airlines, the word "Customer" was capitalized in company documents to signal the central importance of the customer.

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Questions Covered

  1. If you owned and/or managed a venture capital fund would you invest in JetBlue?  Why or why not?
  2. What are the key features (or potential success factors) of JetBlue’s business model?
  3. How would you characterize (or describe) the Chief HR Officer role of Ann Rhodes in reference to pages 159 and 160 of the text and the HR role configuration presented?
  4. What is your evaluation of the degree of alignment of the corporate strategy (and business model), HR practices, and organization values and culture of JetBlue?
  5. Is the objective of remaining union-free realistic and how important is being non-union to the business model and HR practices and systems?
  6. Use the models (frameworks) contained in chapters 3 and 4 (pages 106 and 171) of the Mello text and prepare a brief situational and strategic analysis.  Also, go to the web site of JetBlue to obtain current information. 
  7. Can a values-based corporate culture develop when top executives do not see each other on a frequent basis?  Why or why not?