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Singapore Airlines is regarded as a world-class service provider, with a primary focus on customer happiness. It appears to be more than a title, since they have received honors for finest airline twenty-one times out of twenty-two. That record is quite great because it demonstrates the airline's effort and consistency, as their motto states, "if we cannot do it for you, no other airline can" (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). How do they do it is a question that is frequently posed or rather asked. How do they get such a great honor twenty-one times? Keeping in mind that they are competing with other world-class airlines such as Emirates. It is perhaps a fact that the success of the airline is substantially drawn from its workforce with the human resource department taking quite some strides, in the facilitation of recruitment, selection, training or development and finally motivation and retention of employees (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). The above human resource procedures are practically the same in any company or airline what distinctively places Singapore Airlines at an advantage is the inbuilt interrelated supportive strategic elements in the human resource strategy.
The question that still lingers is what makes these features unique from any other airlines and how useful are they in not only customer satisfaction but also cost effectiveness (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). The answer to the above is not bliss rather it is as follows; every human resource department objective begins from the recruitment and selection process as you cannot develop and motivate what you do not have (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). Hence, the first element being the straight selection and recruitment process, this process is quite intensive and stern, with the key objective placed on emotions such as empathy, friendliness, and humbleness (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). The first screening process entails the basic test concerning education qualifications, but it gets amusing as the there is also a tea party test to test group coordination and also the observers can check style and character. The second screening tests where the candidates are tested and evaluated on the possession of the Singapore airlines required competencies and core values (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). The election bit kicks in after initial training where in-flight supervisors monitor the applicants who have passed to that stage for up to a period of six months which topples of as a strict selection process. In respect to effectiveness both cost and service, the airline can get a turnover of ten percent from both voluntary and direct attrition (Wirtz & Heracleous 2008). Regarding service, Singapore Airlines are considered a leader and a developer of talents.
The second and third elements go together as they facilitate the same idea; extensive investments in training and retraining and the successful delivery of services to customers (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). One would ask how particular these elements are, and it certain aspects it would seem not entirely wrong, but in an overwhelming competitive environment it is quite a distinct character as achieving a competitive advantage against your competitors is not easy as it might end up in losses (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). Singapore Airlines places its competitive strategy on its human resource as they believe people can make a difference, hence the airline has set a holistic look at the training and retraining of its employees making spending on training one of the highest expenses (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). The airline does invest in technology and infrastructure, but if the individuals cannot operate them efficiently and effectively, it becomes a waste. This aspect is unique as most companies would aim to reduce cost on human resource (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). The idea is the generation of productive employees. It's firm belief that people productivity may increase if the right conditions are met, regarding cost effectiveness it's a principal of business to make money you have to spend money, and spending money on the human resource is an investment that results in consistency. As for service excellence, the narrative of the old woman in a wheelchair is to some extent proof of not only excellence but devotion.
The same case applies to elements four and five, the empowerment of frontline staff to control quality and the motivation of employee through recognition and rewards. In respect to uniqueness, the above elements are not distinctively unique except for frontline staff being the controller of excellence. They are placed with the responsibility of determining the class of the airline that is given to the customers. This boosts the morale of the employees as they feel they are part of the company and hence strive to achieve the highest possible satisfaction they can offer to the customers (Werner, J. M., & DeSimone 2011). As a result, the element fosters a lot of cost effectiveness in that the human resource works to full productivity, in regards to contribution to the service excellence of the airline, its particularly on the employee feeling involved and as the elements achieve that. Motivation through recognition and rewards is a powerhouse for improving productivity and fostering consistency in performance (Werner, J. M., & DeSimone 2011).
The airline encourages a sense of team spirit through sports and talents activities which enable the leaders to get to know their staff members and hence when conducting appraisals, the reports are not only accurate but also meticulously detailed despite the extent in the number of employees (Werner, J. M., & DeSimone 2011). The motivation elements and strategy have fostered a sense of unity which has encouraged peoples to work in a united front that maximizes the extent of service excellence which is as a result of customer satisfaction (Chong, M. 2007). As for cost effectiveness more productivity means less cost and well-motivated employees lead to more productivity which the airline has embraced with a turnover of ten percent.
Singapore airline has had quite a competitive advantage by investing in their employees particularly regarding cost effectiveness and service excellence; the execution of such elements is a challenge to many organizations as not all have been able to execute them efficiently unlike Singapore Airlines (Chong, M. 2007). It has raised queries such as what it's preventing other service organizations from implementing them effectively, well some would say, perhaps it is the organization culture, the culture of an organization inhibits implementation of such elements efficiently as not all agencies foster teamwork some foster competitiveness (Chong, M. 2007). Another view to consider would be concerning the organization strategy and objectives; every organization has a goal in which some aim in maximizing profits or the wealth of shareholders. Thus, an organization cannot fully implement the policies if they affect the goals of the organization (Chong, M. 2007). The final view that inhibits full implementation of such policies is the cost that goes into facilitating the whole programs not all organizations can afford such a vigorous implementation of the elements and policies.
Some would say some of the policies such as renewal of contracts been based on body weight to be illegal and to some extent, other would say it is a race to the bottom regarding employee rights. As a fact, concerning rights, it is to an extent illegal, and a diminishing of the rights of employees as its personal and biased in that body weight cannot be set as the mandatory basis for evaluation of renewal of contracts. As it does not dictate or influence productivity to some extent (Chong, M. 2007). But also regarding health and the possible dangers, the nature of the job is accustomed to some would consider such a practice, rather not a hindrance but an effective human resource tool.
Chong, M. (2007). The role of internal communication and training in infusing corporate values and delivering brand promise: Singapore Airlines' experience. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 201-212.
Harzing, A. W., & Pinnington, A. (Eds.). (2010). International human resource management. Sage.
Heracleous, L., & Wirtz, J. (2012). Strategy and organization at Singapore Airlines: achieving a sustainable advantage through dual strategy. In Energy, Transport, & the Environment (pp. 479-493). Springer London.
Werner, J. M., & DeSimone, R. L. (2011). Human resource development. Engage Learning.
Wirtz, J., Heracleous, L., & Pangarkar, N. (2008). Managing human resources for service excellence and cost effectiveness at Singapore Airlines. Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 18(1), 4-19.
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