In order for us to address how to reach WestJet's long term goal of becoming the largest low fare airline in the world while maintaining its culture, we must understand where we are today. We have developed a S.W.O.T. analysis centered around WestJet’s culture.
The culture is very democratic and people feel safe in the organization. The CEO has taken special care to give primary importance to the interests of the employees and puts their interest foremost. The employees enjoy complete freedom as well they have full authority which helps them act in interest of the company and customers. WestJet applies a bottom up approach, the employees are part of the decisions and policy changes.
WestJet’s profit sharing plan allocates bonuses based on profit margins to most of the employees. This profit sharing plan has a ceiling of 20 per cent of net income and cheques are handed out twice a year. The profit sharing program combined with the share purchase plan gives the people of WestJet an ownership stake in the corporation. This further reinforces WestJetter to act in the interest of the company as the employees are aware that company growth will in turn result into their own growth. The people are innovative and always thinking of ways and means to reduce the costs which would mean an increase in profitability.
There is also a strong sense of belonging. The employees believe in working in teams and are excellent team players. WestJet’s working process creates a very relaxed, fun, youthful environment in which creativity and innovation are rewarded. The climate of positivity, trust, and honesty exists that make WestJet an employer of choice.
The people of WestJet are closely knit. They are the corporation’s key strength. They have been instrumental in the organization’s success and its expansion. As WestJet expands, the employees may find less time to nurture the culture into the new hires and may find that the culture becomes diluted. They may also find it difficult to go beyond their existing roles and provide those value additions and innovations to the company.
This may also mean an increased cost to the corporation and it would lose its business advantage which makes it competitive in the business environment. The reduced profitability of the company may also translate into reduced interest of the employees and reduced commitment.
The airline industry has undergone significant changes over the decades and years. The freedom to enter and exit any market and to offer any services has altered the way airlines operate. No doubt, there will be many opportunities WestJet could have in order to be competitive and successful in the near future as they move forward.
For instance, there might be lots of opportunities for growth and to achieve and maintain corporate competitive advantage like more integrated air route networks, alliances, mergers, expansion of national and international markets etc. However, they need to keep in mind that the soul of the organization is their unique culture and the profitability is not always the top priority for long term success. WestJet has been built on a guest loyalty, WestJetter satisfaction, and public reputation based on the WestJet sprit. Having about 50,000 applications coming in to WestJet every year, obviously, money is not the most important reason why people...