Jet Blue Airline’s Human Resource Management

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Introduction

Effective Human Resource Management in an organization entails an understanding of the strategies and culture of an organization. Using Jet blue airline as a case study, the essay notes that Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO) provides a framework in which an organization can be legally compliant with employment issues. Besides, organizations have embraced both Internal and external recruitments for their human resources to ensure they access a wider and right people with needed skills to improve organizations’ roles.

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The essay will analyze the latter methods in detail. Further, the essay will discuss methods that organizations institute in selecting suitable personnel to meet the organization’s staffing needs. The essay discusses the importance of performance appraisal in helping an organization identify the best employer and thus help to increase employees’ output within an organization. The essay explores the role of the 360–degree system and how it contributes to more information gathering than traditional appraisal methods.

Also, the essay helps to point out the pay structure constituents and the administrative structure of the employee benefit systems. Lastly, the essay concludes by outlining how Equal Employment Opportunity Law contributes to a larger extent in protecting an employee against work-related issues.

Equal Employment Opportunity Law

The Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO) gives guidelines for coming up with HR systems that are in line with legal needs (Storey, 1995, p.56). JetBlue Airways employs equal nationality, race, and gender policies in its mandate for human resource management. In considering equal employment for all, it is important not to dwell on exploring race, nationality, sex, religion, or color and instead apply the standard of nondiscrimination (Storey, 1995, p.66). This implies that employees are vetted based on merit and qualifications as required by the EEO law.

The EEO law does not allow intolerance among pregnant women in the workplace or exposing pregnant employees or candidates to adverse conditions. Further, the EEO law prohibits unfairness on firing, pay, promotions, or any other form of employment which can edge out leave and health insurance benefits. In the case of the latter, the company has to accord individuals the same privileges as a provisional disabled employee. This means the concerned departments may have to provide paid or unpaid leaves to pregnant employees as provided for by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) states that equal remuneration should be given to employees with equal work regardless of their sex. In addition, the payment of wages to women and men, who perform the same duties and responsibilities, have equal skills and have a job that calls for equal effort and responsibility, should not be discriminated against regardless of the person’s sex. It is worth noting that sometimes men and women differ in terms of how they work but this should not in any way form a basis for discrimination (Storey, 1995, p.78).

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is specifically formulated to prevent the discrimination of applicants and employees who are aged 40 years and above, this includes treating them negatively or making unpleasant comments about their age. Discrimination against age is restricted in matters encompassing firing, pay, promotions, and other benefits that employees are entitled to enjoy. Besides, the “Age Discrimination Act” provides security to employees aged over 40 years; this ensures that they provide much-needed output for the company while enjoying the security of their employment contracts.

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Internal Recruitment

Internal recruitment refers to the practice of selecting candidates among the existing workers in an institution to take up a position that falls vacant. This process involves the organization internally advertising for a vacant position which will then be filled by existing workers in the company. Internal recruitment is effective especially because the employees to be hired already have been in the organization, and thus are familiar with company values and best practices. Analyzing the Job for developing effective selection techniques is essential for guidelines provided professionally and legally. Job analysis raises value for interviews as it improves job-relatedness and gives the interviewer a chance to get samples of applicant behaviors that are directly linked to the job (Storey, 1995, p.93). When recruiting internally, JetBlue uses job postings for recruitment; this involves existing employees being hired to take up new positions and responsibilities.

Planning should be considered if the organization is to have effective HR management (Sharma, 2009, p.68). For large organizations, it is worthwhile as it heightens relations in the workplace and the corporate culture. Internal recruitment can be faster and cheaper compared with external recruitment. This is because the cost for placing external advertisements and training is lessened given that applicants are a familiar lot (Sharma, 2009, p.79).

Apart from that, it is the best-suited method of retaining employees who might be considering leaving for other companies, this provides for excellent opportunities to further their careers which gives them a sense of security. Because of the limited recruitment pool experienced in internal recruitment the challenge is greater if the HR management team has inadequate training to envisage JetBlue Airway’s needs to constantly achieve its mission and vision (Sharma, 2009, p.88).

External Recruitment

External recruitment involves the fillings of vacant positions in an institution from outside sources. External recruitment is most recurrent in organizations with a high staff turnover or the ones that have a strong progression record. This type of recruitment is usually carried out through placing outdoor advertisements in the media, which has the benefit of reaching a wider audience (Sharma, 2009, p.96). The choices for advertising media are inclined by the target audience and the publicity costs.

The institution might also want to brood recruitment agencies for their hiring process. In 2007 JetBlue approached Trend Integration (LLC) for its recruitment process. Trend Integration using ‘Interview Direct’ delivers a quick and real method of screening applicants using information technology. This has seen JetBlue Airlines cut down costs and reduce the quantity of time used in the selection and hiring progression (Sharma, 2009, p.112). This is not only valuable to JetBlue but also to the candidates who may advance through the process more quickly.

The benefits of internal recruitment are clearly visibly though it may present some holdups. For example, the number of applicants is small given the fact that only internal candidates are qualified for hiring. If a candidate is selected for an elevation then he might have a hard time dealing with begrudging associates who might not be satisfied with the preferment (Sharma, 2009, p.116).

Personnel selection

Personnel selection is a significant step in the recruitment process. If a company makes good selection choices during the hiring process it ensures worthy financial savings in their workforce. On the contrast, poor selection may lead to a waste of valued time, financial losses, low self-esteem among the staff and a general drop in the company efficiency (Sharma, 2009, p.121). Good selection will also reduce the threat of legal suits which result from prejudiced processes. At JetBlue Airways, there is a selection process in which applicants pass through the aptness for the organization test to decide if they can fit into the organizations’ employee culture.

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Personnel selection interview is useful in deciding if the applicant has the required communication or social skills that may be needed for the job. Additional information can be gained by the interviewer and used to test the candidates’ verbal fluency, job knowledge and fitness for the job (Beaumont, 1993, p.68). The interviewer may also adjust the process to gather important information which can be used for selection among equally qualified candidates.

When JetBlue was recruiting pilots and mechanics, candidates who displayed integrity and owned qualities consistent with company values of safety, caring, integrity, fun, and passion were considered. Mechanics were asked how they handled sensitive situations in their previous Jobs. Those who did not compromise on passenger safety were hired. An example is a mechanic who conflicted with his former employer for refusing to “sign off” an aircraft that did not conform to set standards. When recruiting pilots, JetBlue COO Dave Berger required that they display how they would fit into the organizational culture and also be well-versed in computers. This is important considering the fact that JetBlue paid for the pilot’s certification training (US$30,000 per pilot) while other carriers did not do, and in return, Jet Blue expected a guarantee the pilots would commit to the company’s values and culture.

Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal is a process of evaluating employees output based on time, quality, and cost. Performance appraisal is considered to be essential in managing career development of employees. This process mostly seeks to get information about the value that an employee has to the organization (Beaumont, 1993, p.73). The aims of performance appraisal vary from organization to origination but generally its aim is to at better the performance of employees through giving feedback obtained from analyzing the employee’s behavior.

Existing legislation is one of the key reasons and it needs performance appraisal processes to be nondiscriminatory. For instance, performance appraisal systems that led to racial, gender or religious stereotypes are seen as discriminatory according to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The second reason that influences appraisal systems is labor unions. These unions are used to standardize employment compensation packages. JetBlue does not subscribe to unions which may be explained by the companies’ customized compensation policy which may run contrary to union view of compensation packages. Corporate culture is the third reason that influences performance appraisal at JetBlue. The company expects its workers to follow its values and philosophy and the employees are evaluated on how well they adhere to these company principles.

360 –Degree Feedback System

The 360-degree feedback systems are widely seen as a replacement for the traditional appraisal systems. JetBlue has adopted this system in its human resource operations in an attempt to improve the process by collecting and giving more information. Although the process has been noted to have limits it has been used by JetBlue Airways as a means to come up with business strategies and drive change.

This is done by helping the workforce gain positive organizational change by changing their behavior. The 360 degree feedback system can also be used to strengthen the effectiveness by detecting lacking team skills among the teams and set the implementation of a team structure (Sims, 2007, p.119). As the 360 degree feedback system helps employees define their own developing needs, the organization can also use the feedback to come up with a manual for training and development requirements spanning right across the company.

The main purposes of these feedback systems in JetBlue are to help in the employee development and assist the organization make valid decisions. One of the major advantages of the 360 degree feedback system is that it gives the individual a chance to receive feedback from the people they are constantly in contact with therefore ensuring accuracy of observation form the people providing the feedback. The 360 degree feedback system directs its focus to customers who may be internal or external (Sims, 2007, p.125).

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This helps individuals not only to receive feedback on the quality of their service but also helps them improve on the organizations image. This kind of feedback becomes very effective and strong if the person receiving the feedback comes up with an action plan, this shows the individual understood the feedback and is willing to take corrective measures to ensure delivery of quality service (Burack, 1986, p.49). The need for the use of the 360-degree feedback to improve human resource management is quite obvious.

The benefits will go a long way in helping the personal development of employees if implemented well but it can also produce unwanted results when the implementation is not carefully planned and a secure working environment provided. For JetBlue to realize the full value of the 360 degree appraisal system it is essential to look at the benefits the system brings forth compared to the cons (Burack, 1986, p.58). By carrying out this system the individual employee will be able to get multiple perspectives of his performance.

One-on-one meetings or surveys with those providing input should be encouraged to ensure integrity of information and feedback, also the customers either internal or external should be encouraged provide situations in which their expectations were either not met, met or were exceeded and through this 360 feedback, the employee will know how his choices directly affect others.

The use of the 360 degree feedback has legal risks and potential liabilities if not correctly performed. This feedback system should not be used to fix promotions, pay rises among others. This can result in legal suits that may prove expensive for JetBlue. Instead, the 360 feedback system should be carefully planned and carried out. To reduce the risks associated with this system, the results should only be used to improve employee performance. The information collected should not be used to discriminate against any person or groups of people protected by law.

The 360-degree feedback system will benefit JetBlue by ensuring quality of service is provided to customers. To ensure customer satisfaction, Jet Blue needs to appraise the performance of its employees. If 360 feedback systems are narrowed to the employee-supervisor level, then information collected will also be narrow but if the net is cast wider to encompass all stakeholders the process will be able to provide valuable information on the employee performance and quality service delivery realized.

Financial compensation

Considering the compensation is one of the basic rights for employees. Several reasons influence the package. Competence and skills of the employee is the first reason, this depends on educational achievement and previous trainings. Second the experience of the employee. Employees who hold several work experience on a specific job will earn a higher salary compared with fresh graduates from college. Performance is another reason; this means that an employee who achieves better results will have more compensation than others who present substandard performance. Fourth is the scope of responsibility which allows employees to understand their duties and responsibilities and the output expected towards the fulfillment of the company objectives.

Discretionary employee benefits

Discretionary employee benefits refer to compensation other than hourly wage or salary (Hendry, 1995, p.98). Discretionary benefits arise in different forms, among the forms includes security programs which entails insurance remuneration for employee for example life insurance, retirement policy and disability insurance, (Hendry, 1995, p.112). The other discretionary benefit is paid time; this refers to sick leaves, vacation leaves and holidays. Accommodation and enhancements are the third type of discretionary benefits (Hendry, 1995, p.113). This covers some programs that are meant to foster the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of employees. These may include family relief programs, acquisition of skills and knowledge, flexible work schedules, and other incentives to motivate personnel (Burack, 1986, p. 98).

Several discretionary benefits are provided by Jet Blue Airways to its employees. First, the company ensures all employees are covered by medical insurance, second, the company provides workers with profit-sharing motivations. 401k plans is another benefit that is given to the workers. Moreover, personal time off is given to full time employees who also get double pay for working during holidays.

The company also provides flexible working hours, travel and holiday benefits and family time off to employees especially the flight attendants in addition to accommodation and generous incentives.

Reservation agents benefit from a “work from home” policy while the top management can have offices in their residential areas, a benefit given by the company so as not to disrupt the employees’ personal or family lives.

Conclusion

Equal Employment Opportunity Law plays an important aspect in safeguarding the employee’s interests in cases where a dispute arises. JetBlue airline has embraced this legal compliant thus ensuring staff motivation and increased output. Concisely, internal and external recruitment process has provided Jet blue with the efficient employees because of its structured and streamlined recruitment process. Encouragement and use of performance appraisal for motivating employees and increasing their efficiency has contributed to JetBlue better performance in aviation industry.

References List

Beaumont, B. (1993). Human Resource Management: Key Concepts and Skills. California: SAGE.

Burack, E.H. (1986). Corporate, Business, and Human Resource Planning Practices:

Strategic Issues and Concerns. Organizational Dynamics, 15, 73-87. New York: Routledge.

Hendry, C. (1995) Human Resource Management: a Strategic Approach to Employment. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Sims, R. R. (2007). Human Resource Management: Contemporary Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities. North Carolina: IAP.

Sharma, S. K. (2009). Human Resource Management: A Strategic Approach to Employment. New Delhi: Global India Publications.

Storey, J. (1995). Human Resource Management: a Critical Text. New York: Routledge.

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