Employee Motivation

Southwest has adopted Expectancy Theory as the basis for its plans to motivate its employees. The theory argues that the power of a propensity to act in a certain way depends on the degree of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the degree to which the individual values that outcome (Robbins, 1999). The company has used Employee Stock Ownership plans as a motivational tools fro its employees. This plan encourages employees to own stocks of the company and have vested in the success of the company.

It makes the employees feel being in a partnership with the owners. Hence, they strongly believe that good performance by the company will not only help the company to grow but its success will also help them to grow. At British airways, the management believes that employees can be highly motivated if they are timely rewarded for their performance. The employee motivation tools include excellence award for their employees. Bonuses for better performance and promotion based on skills and performance have mainly led the workforce remain motivated to work with British Airways.

The management has taken these steps basically by keeping in mind the Maslow’s hierarchy of motivation which lets people move from the lowest level of physiological needs to the highest of self actualization. Hence managers at lower level are encouraged to work effectively and efficiently so that they climb the career ladder high. For the higher levels, it is the recognition that motivates them to perform well. Employees at Southwest believe that their management cares for them and tries hard to ensure that they are being treated fairly. This works well for the company as many talented individuals strive to be a part of Southwest workforce.

The selection process at Southwest is a rigorous and the kind of attributes that the management seeks in the employment candidate is the spirit to serve. They management believes that the presence of spirit or attitude is the prerequisite of a great performance because spirit cannot be breathed in. however, with the presence of spirit and skills can be trained for. After the hiring, the candidate spends six months under a mentor who trains him and makes him understand the cultural dynamics of the company.

In the initial six months, the hiring is on contingent basis, i. e.if the candidate dose not fit well into the culture, he will be terminated. The training sessions apart form mentoring include each employee’s self improvement program which he or she has to complete each year at a suitable time. The recruitment and job placement policy at British Airways works on the basic premise of identify behaviors, skills and knowledge of the candidates. Their competency based approach assumes that high performers are mechanical in their approach.. the assessment methodology for new entrants has group exercises, interview, psychometric test , presentations and role play (British Airways, 2006).

British Airways has offered many effective training programs for its employees. Putting people First Program which aimed at creating awareness amongst employees about the customer expectations and make them realize the importance of teamwork in a service industry. Managing people first program followed which targeted the management level to make them realize the importance of feedback for better organizational performance. Southwest adopts negotiations as means to mange conflicts. To resolve cross functional conflicts managers take an active role in making the parties get rid of conflict in win-win situation.

If the conflicts are not resolved by the parties through negotiations then the conflict resolution called “come to Jesus” is activated. Which includes gathering information about the issue in hand and the top management then decides which action should be adopted to resolve the conflict fairly. Like SW, British Airways also employs negations as tools to resolve conflict among its various functional units and elements in the network. They company’s use of the type of negotiation varies from situations to situations. Most of the times, the management opts for integrative bargaining (Robbins, 1999) which involves a win-win situation.

However, its not always that the management can do it, hence, on the basis of information collected about the issue in conflict, a win-lose decision is also made. It can be verifiably said that organizational cultures like that of Southwest airlines take its inspiration from the top management, the commitment and the spirit flows down from the top to the bottom. Their culture is not a mechanized program but a way of life that gets inculcated within the employees. The key factors that make their relationships long lasting and productive are the shared goals and mutual respect.

It is identified that the values and practices of the company are inculcated and implemented not by formal structures and stringent rules but by developing and nurturing a culture of employee empowerment and family values. On the hand, the cultural dimensions and approaches at British Airways focus performance and standardization more than their focus on employee empowerment and nurturing relationships within the organization. There can never be exactly the same culture in two organizations because each management has its own vision, core competencies and goals to achieve.

However there are common elements between two organization cultures, like that in between SW and BA where both the organization believes that customer is the king, employees must be motivated to perform well, conflict management is done by adopting negotiations, and communication is wider and more transparent in SW than in British airways. Lastly, the management style is more autocrative in BA than in SW but more the organizations have been able to derive above average profits maximizing its shareholder wealth.

Last but not the least, the analysis very strongly highlighted that it is the top management’s ability to breathe soul in the organization. The culture is an intangible factor which plays a very important role in financial performance of the organization, this can be verified by the fact that satisfied employees give in their hundred percent efforts in turn increasing their productivity which gets resulted in higher net income, and consequently contented shareholder on getting expected return on investment.

Moreover, the word of mouth adverting by the satisfied customer base in a service industry is also a very important factor that interprets company’s competitive advantage. Such delighted and satisfied customer base is undoubtedly the result of sound strategies and highly motivated and skilled workforce.