British Airways Talent Management
Sir Colic Marshall identified that focusing merely on cost cutting would not be enough to guarantee long-term success and profitability. He quickly discovered that BAA was not addressing the needs initiative, celebrating a new ethos “Putting the Customer First because if we don’t, someone else will”. To further embrace the new culture of cooperation, BAA introduced a second program named “Managing People First” (MAP) to assist managers with the change process in their respective areas. The APP and MAP programs worked superbly and contributed o the stellar turnaround of Bag’s performance.
Eventually in 1987 the company was privatized and became the “World’s favorite Airline. ” Despite the tremendous transformation that British Airways achieved over the asses, there were still a number of challenges that marred the company. Broadly speaking, the company had not been able to institutionalize change: this could be traced back partly to the questionable integration between BOCA and BEA (and their inherently different values and culture) and partly to the pressure yielding from the new competitive arena that BAA was playing in the sis.
These issues were palpable as employees felt that BAA was still lacking a comprehensive integration across its different functional units. Furthermore employees observed a lack of recognition of emotional labor and they agreed that obsolete corporate values could not be repackaged and sold out again because the motives that incentive in the sis were radically different to those that prevailed in the sis. Overall employees still not quite felt of themselves as British Airways.
Moreover whilst the 1987 merger with British Caledonia contributed to new routes, increased market share and enhanced net profits, it also added significant numbers of staff and new layers of the management, yielded malcontent across the organization, contributed to a lack of shared vision, increased operational costs and strained the delicate company culture further. The real challenge that BAA was facing at this point was managing cultural change to drive productivity and profit.
And more importantly management had to communicate this dual objective to the work force in a way that the latter did not feel that the focus was shifting away from customer revive. To address the issues aforementioned, we suggest the company to implement the best strategy that suits the situation to maintain focus on customer service while managing cultural change to drive productivity and revenues as primary objective. Henceforth we would like to propose two alternatives. Internal change (C) agents are those within the organization who have the right to influence the change management process.
Under this process, the teams have to be subdivided to maintain proper balance of cultures, corporate identities and talent/ expertise following the “Structural Intervention” strategy (Exhibit: 01). Like the APP and MAP programs, which were driven to emphasize “Customer Service” training programs that would disseminate a common vision across the various teams at BAA over a 2-weeks period in a year. The aim of these training programs would be to foster “cost efficient processes leading for high customer satisfaction making BAA the global leader in the Airline business” (Exhibit: 02).
This also requires the ICC management to meet the teams face-to-face very frequently to check the alignment of team’s performance to the corporate vision. Managers should then address the conflicts if any cultural or personal differences among the team members would come into play. When conflicts or misunderstandings arise due to cultural differences, the “Adaptation” strategy should be implemented to motivate the teams to perform with high productivity and quality (Exhibit: 01).
We also envisage a culture of employee feedback and training program should be devised on the basis of this feedback. Ineffective communication and a lack of understanding for the rationale prompting the change can impact confidence and trust of the employees. Additionally, management could explore into accompanied incentive programs that align the individual performance to BAs corporate vision, an example of which could be granting stock options to its employees. ICC process demands low financial investment from the organization.
Despite its advantages, this method will lack to deliver valuable external industry knowledge to BAA as the ICC methodology will be managed in-house and as such it may perpetuate inefficient processes as opposed to best practices from its wider competitors. To address the shortcomings of first alternative, BAA should hire External change agents I. E. External consultants expert in change management) to weather the cultural change in the highly competitive airways arena that was shaping in the sis and to drive productivity and profits forward.
External agents would transfer best practices methodology from the external business field to BAA, which would have a huge impact on employee’s motivation and learning process. These consultants would devise new tools to be used within the organization to eliminate waste, in terms of non-value adding activities, and manage cultural differences in long run (Exhibit: 03). The agents analyze the gaps and run the change effectively with standard metrics. Effective change agents involve actively in the change implementation process in short run and for long-term follow up.
On the flip side, this alternative demands considerable financial investments from BAA. All management levels of BAA should engage in the task of eliminating waste, which is time consuming and continually nurtured. This can be efficiently implemented through the creation of a change management team that is a combination of Internal and External change agents. This team would gain the necessary synergies that can dress the internal issues and develop the skill-set required to improve productivity.