Westjet Case Analysis
WestJet is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service. Beddoe, Bell, Hill Morgan and David Neelman believed that there was not only a market for a low-fare carrier in Canada, but that they could succeed at bringing this service to the country. They became the founding team of the concept that became WestJet Airlines. WestJet has been very successful with their low-fare strategy. They believe that their culture was the key that helps their business grows. They focus on their culture and how to maintain their “fun” culture.
All WestJet’s employees are treated equally no matter what their titles are. Beside all employees have respect and trust then they will feel happy and comfortable to work with WestJet and more loyal to the company. WestJet also believes in teamwork because this is the way can help them reduce their cost. Everyone works as a team will help each other out. Every employee can do any job so the company does not need to hire many people to work on a specific job. According to the WestJet case that I have read, the main problem is WestJet’s expansion plans.
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They want to expand more airline route networks in Canada but they do not want to change their culture. They will need to hire more people for their expansion plans. The more people are hired, the more difficult for the company maintain their culture. Because of diversity may change WestJet’s culture in the future if more new employees are hired. New employees maybe not familiar with WestJet’s culture because they are new, and they come from different background and experiences. For example, Steve Smith was hired as a CEO in early 1999 but it became apparent almost immediately that Smith did not fit with WestJet’s culture.
He would override decisions and had a top-down management style which is not supposed in WestJet’s culture. In September 2000, he suddenly resigned and Beddoe had to take his seat back. WestJet culture may be its strength because WestJet treats every employee equally and respectfully so that makes their employees feel happy and comfortable. Then they can contribute their best capability to perform the best service to customer and also make customers satisfied and happy then the customers will choose WestJet Airline again. As the result, WestJet’s profit will increase.
In contrast, this culture can also be a weakness for recruiting new employees because it can make new employees feel uncomfortable. If the employees are not comfortable with the working environment then their performance will be limited. Then it is difficult for them to perform at their best and give good service to WestJets’ customers. That means WestJet’s culture turns in to a tension for new employees. Moreover, other competitors such as Canadian Airlines, Air Canada can have better performing and satisfied employees because their cultures are not the norm.
Then new employees can adapt to their cultures easier. I think WestJet is a cash cow because their business grows very fast comparing to other airline but their market share is still low that is why they want to add more their airline’s route network. But the problem is which people WestJet should hire. If WestJet hires people with experience or without experience, they may affect WestJet’s culture. Experienced people may not fit in WestJet’s culture because they have worked with other company so they were influenced by other companies’ cultures.
They may not get along with old employees. Then there may create the conflict between all employees, and WestJet’s employees need contracts and unions, which is not belong to the trust part of WestJet’s culture. On the other hand, like Beddoe said WestJet is a new culture, a new vision. It’s better to start with a clean slate. They looked for two character traits which are enthusiasm and a sense of humor. But the problem with hiring people without experience is they have no idea what they are going to do, and they do not have enough ability to manage their tasks.
The first alternative is stopping expansion plans that will secure WestJet’s culture but it will restrain WestJet’s growing rate, share market and profit. They just keep their company as where they are now so they do not need to hire more new people then they do not have to worry about ruining their culture. The second choice is recruit new people with experience but like I said above new people with experience may not fit in WestJet’s culture because WestJet’s culture is new and completely different with other companies. We can let them try to work for WestJet in one or two weeks.
After that if they feel like this culture and comfortable with this environment, they can continue working and the company will get more idea about employee who can help the company grow. If they are not comfortable, they can quit and we look for others. The disadvantage of this method is wasting company’s time and money if after one or two weeks the employees realize that they do not fit in the culture. The final alternative is hiring new people without experience and trains them before they get start. Through extensive training they will be given cases that they may deal with when they start to work.
This training helps company understand more what level of new people is and how their actions when they deal with the problems. The disadvantage of this alternative is they may react one way in training, because they know they are being observed, and then act completely different on the job. I think the best alternative will be to hire new people and put them through extensive training. This is the best alternative because new people with clean slate the will learn new way easier specify WestJet’s culture. They do not affect by any other cultures.
If they are new to the business, they will be more willing to accept the culture. Extensive training will help new employees learn more about company and can image how the company is actually like. In the training, WestJet’s employees can talk about their culture and what qualifies they are expecting on new employee. If new people do not like it or feel uncomfortable, they can decide to leave before they start actually working. If they think they can handle it, they will fit right in and ready to working with WestJet’s culture.
Before this plan is started, Beddoe who is current CEO should inform the entire company and ask them about the idea make sure majority agree with that alternative. The chance to get majority employee agree with this plan is really high because Beddoe have credibility so his employee will believe him. Then, the training should be start with current employees to distribute everything relate to how the company look like, how the company’s culture in the training sessions. If this training is useful then the company can use it on the new recruitment.
In the mean time, human resources should continue to interview them in the same fashion making sure they have the sense of humor and enthusiasm that WestJet is looking for before these people are at the point where they need training. That will help WestJet get out of the risk losing their culture and become more and more successful company in the future. WestJet can maximize their profit and that also benefit for their employee so that will make every member in the company feel happy that means employees will complete their job well and make customer also feel happy.