Westjet: Building a High-Engagement Culture

3474 Words Feb 14th, 2014 14 Pages
WestJet: Building a High-Engagement Culture

Executive Summary
WestJet is facing an urgent problem. The pilots’ contract expires in two weeks’ time and the pilots are unhappy with the offer that has been presented. This has created conflict between management and the pilots as the pilots feel that too many things are being taken away. If a quick agreement is not reached, flights would be grounded, which would impact the bottom line and negatively affect culture. A collaborating approach will need to be applied in order to come to a swift resolution.
WestJet is also facing a strategic problem, the longer term impact that growth is having on WestJet’s culture. WestJet’s success and competitive advantage have been a direct result of
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Relevant Facts
WestJet’s success has been a result of its low operating costs, non-union environment, and unique corporate culture. WestJet’s goals are to become the dominant airline in Canada by 2013 and one of the five most successful international airlines in the world by 2016. Achieving these goals requires continued expansion. Growth has been seen as positive in the company because it would provide new and exciting opportunities for WestJetters. Leaders across the organization are under pressure to communicate and sustain the culture; although they may need to build new skills and competencies. A major challenge in the airline industry is dealing with largely absentee workforce spread all over the country. Communication and creating an environment where people manage themselves is essential. Currently negotiations between WestJet and its pilots have stalled two weeks before their three-year agreement expires.
Define the Issues * Will the rapid growth at WestJet come at the cost of building and maintaining a high-engagement culture? * Can WestJet’s culture withstand the shocks that lay ahead? What could the management team do to keep the unique culture intact? * WestJet’s strategy has committed to high rates of growth, but WestJetters are not sure how this growth will affect them and the overall