In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Scandinavian Airlines-an Object Lesson in Management Motivational Techniques

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), like many other airlines around the world, have been having a tough time recently. Sales revenues have fallen as a result of a number of factors, including:

· The world economic slowdown

· Declining travel due to the impact of 9/11, and repeated terrorist threats

· Competition from cheap fare budget airlines.

In response to the decline in revenues, SAS have been looking for ways to save money. One particular initiative was to ask their loyal staff to take a pay cut of 10%.

One the face of it this, if the situation warrants it, is a sensible measure. Far better for individual members of staff to take home less in their pay packets, than to find themselves un-employed.

However, although the pay cuts were to be for all levels of staff from the most junior to the most senior; there was a glaring anomaly, which made this gesture of communal Scandinavian self sacrifice not as altruistic as it first may appear.

For you see the senior management were, despite the fact that the airline is losing money, still going to receive their bonuses; which, in some individual cases, would be more than the salaries of some of the lower ranks. It would seem that some, as the saying goes, “are more equal than others”.

This cost cutting measure has not, from what I understand, been enough. It seems that the staff at the call centre office in Stockholm have been told that it will be closed. They have not, at the time of writing, yet been told what will happen to their jobs or what severance pay they will receive if there is no alternative offer of employment.

Needless to say morale in the office has hit an all time low, uncertainty over the future of your job is a very soul destroying emotion.

Recognising this SAS senior management, in their infinite wisdom, organised a meeting on the 12th of February. The hapless staff, needless to say, should have been given some more factual information about their fate.

Apparently, this was not the case. Instead they were treated to a course on how to handle personal crises and the effects of stress, eg loss of sleep and anxiety. These effects they are undoubtedly aware of already; although maybe the directors of SAS have yet to feel any stress, and would have benefited from attending the course instead.

However, the ever sympathetic and employee focussed management of SAS did show some empathy towards their employees. It being so close to Valentines’ day, they gave each member of staff a piece of Valentines cake.

Now there’s an example of a great management motivational technique!

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