WestJet Airline was an idea developed by four people after Clive Beddoe, owner of Hanover Group of Companies, realized that he needed to make his trips between Calvary and Vancouver easier. Upon purchasing his craft from Tim Morgan of Morgan Air in 1994, he joined other business people in Calvary, including Mark Hill and Don Bell. The four businessmen then agreed that there was a market niche in the Western parts of Canada that they could pursue by providing affordable air transport to the Westerners. The team needed an experienced person in the industry, and other than Morgan, they decided to contact David Neelman of Morris Air for a business plan. Neelman later joined Hill, Morgan, Bell, and Beddoe in the foundation of West Jet Airline.
As Bell mentions, the company is known for its unique culture. However, maintaining a unique culture in the face of tremendous success can be quite a challenge that the WestJet founders faced. As Bell explains, all other directors require that the company maintains its culture even in the face of extreme growth. The stated case occurred in 2001 when the company faced a peak sale of its services that t became the best airline in the country by taking over Air Canada’s position. Thus, the company’s major challenge became the issue of culture. During formation, the team agreed that Clive Beddoe would be the president and chairman of the director’s board while Morgan and Bell took up roles if vice presidents. Bell was known for his innovative ideas and settled for the IT role. Mark Hill was assigned strategic planning roles in the company. For a company that started with two jets, it was quite a bummer that by 2001, it had grown to 21 jets and a 90 percent profitability, unlike most startup companies that fail shortly after establishment.
WestJet faces a challenge in maintaining its unique culture. The company was fully in operation in 1996 with just two jets. However, its founders were so determined to make it grow and make airline services more accessible to the Western people of Canada. There existed the Morgan Air and Southwest Airlines even though the market in the West of Canada remained untouched. The culture of WestJet Airlines, as mentioned by Beddoe, was structured to bring out the best in its employees. The company shared part of the profits with the employees. All workers faced included and had a relaxed, youthful, and fun environment as Vinish, the public relations director, explains. The company also rewarded innovation and creativity among employees creating the autonomy to develop new ideas. Decision-making was decentralized such that salespersons in the call center would accept cancellations without charges or charge fewer fees for unaccompanied minors. Therefore, every employee felt like they are part of the company, and they owned it to steer its success. Nonetheless, the challenge of corporate growth, as reviewed in 2001, would largely affect this culture if the company has to grow.
The management team at WestJet looked into ways of cutting down costs while achieving a high productivity level. A layer of supervisory team initiates more amount of money paid for their services. Thus, the company realized that eliminating this role would save the company some unnecessary costs. Also, eliminating supervision built creativity and innovation in the company. It is not possible to create an innovative environment if there are strict rules to follow. Employees feel demotivated as their main target is to get the job done and not necessarily create new ideas of getting tasks accomplished. Therefore, WestJet managers figured that the supervision role would save the company some costs and create an avenue of growth for all employees. Employees are assigned tasks and are their managers in getting the job done. Beddoe mentions that there is no follow-up on procedures of how tasks are achieved. However, there is monitoring each month on the progress of the company to achieve transparency. Thus, the culture has created a sense of responsibility for every employee.
The hiring strategy developed by WestJet was unique even though the idea was borrowed from Southwest Airlines. The company required new employees for a clean start. Thus, it looked for two important traits in its potential employees; a sense of humor and enthusiasm. The company is in the hospitality industry, and fun is the first thing most clients look for. Customer service has to be accompanied with courtesy and a smile. To ensure that the courtesy and enthusiasm originates from within, managers do not interfere with the work of employees. They allow employees to make decisions that are best for the customers, the company, themselves, and the rest of the stakeholders. The company allowed employees to crack jokes and participate in singing or other games with the customers as long as it was in the best interest of the passenger. Thus behavioral interviews were frequently used and differed from one department to another.
Two Possible Solutions to the Problem
First Possible Solution
The first solution to the problem of maintaining WestJet’s culture is through effective leadership. The company already recognizes leadership that is horizontal from the bottom up and not vertical. There are no cadres for orders or procedures to be followed when accomplishing tasks. A salesperson can directly reach out to the management without necessarily following some specific rules. It implies that there is open communication where problems are revealed as they are without withholding important information. Employees are the engineers of the company’s growth. Thus, Beddoe mentions that they deserve to all the issues facing the company so that together with the board of directors, solutions can be sought. Also, the company is likely to keep growing by maintaining this type of leadership with ideas of Southwest Airlines that has maintained its culture for over 25 years. Therefore, Beddoe recognizes that the company will be successful if open communication is maintained.
Second Possible Solution
Beddoe also mentions that maintaining an organizational culture is essential to achieve more success in the future. The company views Southwest Airlines as its role model. Therefore, if its leading company is doing well with a similar culture, there is a possibility of WestJet growing further by maintaining a fun-filled culture. The managers understand that the employees are the reason behind any company’s success. They have to feel motivated intrinsically to give out their best services. Thus, creating an organizational culture that inspires intrinsic motivation is a priority for WestJet Airline. Employees are encouraged to make important decisions on behalf of the company and get tasks done without close monitoring. Thus, even pilots and salespeople act as company managers, and this helps nurture careers and management skills. The method can be maintained to steer more growth even in the future.
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Essay Sample on Four Businessmen Launch WestJet Airline: Affordable Air Transport for Western Canada. (2023, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-sample-on-four-businessmen-launch-westjet-airline-affordable-air-transport-for-western-canada
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