The human aspect of business refers to the managers, customers and employees of a company. Managers are responsible for carrying out some duties and roles in the functional areas of the organization, customers create demand for the goods and services offered by the organization, and employees ensure effective delivery of service to meet the specific needs of customers. For service firms, labor relations are an integral part of service delivery and operational efficiency. The dynamism and complexities of doing business in the contemporary business world pushes companies to seek competitive advantage through various strategies. For South West Airlines, keeping a work force that is motivated to work is the key towards ensuring customer satisfaction.
Deeply enshrined in its corporate philosophy is the belief that properly treated employees work to achieve customer satisfaction. In turn, continued customer satisfaction culminates into increased growth and profitability of the Company. By allowing the representation of its employees through labor unions, the Company is able to effectively handle their grievances and concerns. The unionization of employees gives them a collective voice in presenting their issues to the management team. The goals of the labor unions are to ensure that employees are remunerated properly for their services, treated in a dignified manner, and work in a safe and healthy environment. In addition, they negotiate for compensation schemes in the case of work-related injuries. The good labor relations that exist between the management team and the employees’ unions help build a good public image for Southwest Airlines.
Effective cooperation and coordination between the management team and the workers’ unions during negotiations helps keep both employees of the Company and the management team satisfied. Employees become motivated to work hard in order to ensure the accomplishment of the Company’s objectives and targets. This translates into improved service delivery hence customer satisfaction. As a result, the company experiences increased profitability and growth patterns. However, employees of the Company, apart from being human assets, are also additional operation costs. Providing employees with good salaries and working conditions increases the total costs incurred by the Company. This implies that in order to remain successful, the management of the Company should ensure that their employees improve their productive levels beyond the benefits that the Company provides for them. Question 2
Southwest Airlines is arguably the most unionized airline in the American airline industry. This is because its management is convinced that maintaining a happy work force is the best way to achieve its profit and growth prospects. Having a pool of employees who are competent, skilled and experienced to facilitate quality service delivery is a priority to the Company. The strategy adopted by the Company in dealing with its employees is productive in a cyclical manner. To start with, the employees of the Company are both an asset and cost to the business. When the management of the Company agrees to provide benefits to its employees, it incurs an out flow of money from its funds. These benefits may come in the form of salary increments , health care covers, retirement benefits, compensation schemes in case of work-related injuries among others. Such benefits are negotiated by the labor unions representing the issues of the employees.
On the other hand, employees are human assets for the Company. They act as agents who interact directly with the customers of the business. As a result, customer satisfaction is heavily dependent on service delivery provided by people working for the Company. For the case of Southwest Airlines, the satisfaction of passengers will rely on the kind of service that they receive before, during and after their flight. It is imperative for airlines to get hold of the most proficient workforce for its flight crew. These consist of pilots, co-pilots, and flight attendants. This is since the members of the flight crew are accountable for passengers’ safety during the flight. Therefore, the flight crew ought to make proper communication and give accurate feedback regarding information pertaining to the flight. Even though it is vital for pilots to take action on the basis of what they see while in the air, it is essential for them to abide by the official landing procedures provided to them.
Millions of people travel by air on a daily basis in the United States. On the ground employees such as ground air controllers are also very instrumental in directing aircrafts into and out of the airports. In order to remain sustainable, the Company needs to adopt labor relations strategies that match with their human resources endowment and understand the importance of human resource apart from its relationship with operational efficiency. In addition, evaluate whether the employees’ bundles work collectively or is a conglomeration of individual practices. Southwest Airways has always retained its employees in spite of the prevailing economic conditions. Therefore, Southwest Airlines recognizes that ensuring customer satisfaction is a vital source of competitive advantage. By keeping its employees happy, the Company has continuously satisfied its customers thus remained profitable.
The sustainability of the Company is depicted in its growth prospects. The acquisition of AirTran Airways is an indication that the Company is expanding. However, it is also an indication of potential challenges in the handling of labor relations. This is because the employees of the newly-acquired company are represented by a different labor union. Since AirTran Airways has a smaller representation of workers, it should be enticed to join the Company’s employees to form one expanded umbrella labor union. This will help reduce the amount of time consumed by the management team in negotiating with different employees’ unions. In addition, where grievances arise from employees of the new acquisition and the same issue has been settled by the parent Company’s employees’ union, they will be automatically integrated into the existing labor relations system. This will help reduce cases of employees’ unrest arising from separate employees’ unions.
It will be easier to evaluate benefits demanded by employees’ benefits under one representative employees’ union instead of two, that is, both Transport Workers Union and Association of Flight Attendants. By having all employees under the representation of Transport Workers Union, Southwest Airlines will target more communities and provide better service delivery in an industrially stable environment. However, it will be pivotal to see to it that appropriate systems are set up to oversee a smooth transition of AirTran Airways employees into the Transport Workers Union. This is because the employees’ benefits provided will have to be uniform for all employees. Thus, the newly-acquired employees ought to meet the performance expectations of the Company. The newly-enjoyed benefits under the Transport Workers Union will have to be earned through proportionally greater productivity.
Gilmore, S., & Williams, S. (2009). Human resource management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lee, G. (2011). Labor relations. New York: Avalon Books.