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Virgin Blue

Strategic Human Resource Management in Virgin Blue 4


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1. What key issues, identified by the CEO, would affect HR Strategy for the new airline (Virgin Blue)?

The key issue, which has made its impact on the HR strategy in the Virgin Blue, has been recruitment of senior staff. The core approach, used by the CEO has been the headhunting – when the professionals in the different areas have been invited from the other industries.

The corporate culture and values of the company implied the commitment and excitement. One of the core competitive advantages for the potential employee in the company has been the ability to be enthused by the team working and to understand and accept the Virgin Blue corporate concept. It is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that the core motivation factor for employment and for the career growth within this company has been the combination of the enthusiasm for the particular duties performing and for following the corporate culture within the company.

After hiring the senior staff, one more task emerged- recruiting teams of pilots, cabin crew, front desk and booking staff, administrative staff, and engineering and technical staff. The set of the following methods has been applied by the HR director: merit exercises, headhunting and other methods of the professional potential evaluation. As an evident example, it is possible to consider the process of cabin crew employment. The boundary- expanding exercises and team-building intensive period have been applied for the teams of applicants in order to access the enthusiasm and commitment of the job applicants, and to understand the basic attitude towards the professional activities executing towards the people (both employees and clients), and also to evaluate their ability of remaining professional in the conditions of stress. The process of interviewing the applicants has implied several short interview sessions, combined with the ongoing evaluation.

It is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that the innovative approach towards the professional duties allocation among the staff has been applied by the HR of Virgin Blue. Usually, within this industry, the allocation of the duties among employees is strict. In other words, it is not allowed for the staff, working in the different parts of the processes, to participate in other parts of the processes. Virgin Blue has rejected such approach and hired the multi-skill staff, who may participate in the processes across the entire set of available areas within the limit of their professional skills. It means that the non-pilots are not permitted to fly, but the baggage-related processes or booking may be undertaken by the telecentre staff.

The individual growth and learning are encouraged by the companys policies. Consequently, it means that in the case when the team members have the skills in the particular area, they are encouraged to apply them even in the case if these skills are not directly related to their current professional duties.

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To conclude, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that HR Strategy for the new airline has implied the following values: the creativity of the employees, their enthusiasm and also, their ability to adapt to the different professional cases and situations, and to manage the stress, which may be caused by the professional duties executing.

2. In what ways was HR strategy used to provide Virgin Blue with a competitive edge.

It is possible to state a fact that the competitive advantage of the Virgin Blue has been reached by the effective HR strategy practical implementation. The core emphasis here should be put on the fact that the multi-skill staff has been hired. In other words, the clients of this company did not have a need of visiting different departments or calling there for booking, resolving the luggage-related issues, for clarifying the prices etc. since all these issues may be resolved by one manager. In other words, the system of the customer care has been simplified and the easiness in using the services has been reached in such manner.

The core reason of success has been the fact that nowadays, the transportation services of different quality and prices are widely offered worldwide and in the northern hemisphere in particular. That is why, one of the core competitive advantages and, consequently, success factors, has been the high-quality customer service and care.

In addition, the fact that the HR strategy has not implied the high salary rate (the core factor of motivation in Virgin Blue has been the enthusiasm for the company development and for occupying the bigger segment of market), the top management of the company has saved some monetary funds for the employees salaries, because there was no need of including these costs into the price of tickets. So, in such manner, one more competitive advantage has been achieved – lower prices in comparison with the competitors ones. Finally, the company, by having multi-skill staff, implied one more competitive advantage- the option of hiring smaller quantity of employees in comparison to the case of strict allocation of the duties among the staff and, in such manner, the option of the cost for the services, provided by the company, has been reached.

To conclude, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that the effective and cost-saving human resource strategy has provided the Virgin Blue with the set of competitive advantages within the industry – high quality for the low price.

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