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Strategic Plan of Delta Airlines

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Strategic Plan of Delta Airlines

Abstract
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Delta) is an air carrier based in Atlanta, Georgia that provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States and around the world. The Company offered customers service to destinations with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 321 destinations in 58 countries in January 2008. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offered more than 500 weekly flights to 63 destinations in January 2008. It is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with worldwide destinations, flights and services.
Through the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Delta Air Lines worked to establish its name as the premier U.S. airline for customer service. The foundation of Delta’s customer service was based on a company with a culture of “southern hospitality” and employees who went above and beyond the call of duty. The company’s human resource strategy helped build the skills, motivation and opportunities for employees to deliver great customer service, and that allowed Delta to attract business travelers who paid premium prices for travel (Wright, 2008). Delta’s success shows just how important HR strategy can be, especially in its impact on company performance (Wright, 2008).
The information published on Delta’s offers a great deal of information about the company, culture, and the benefits to jobseekers. Furthermore, the website provides an abundance of information about the pre-hire process, benefits and perks, and feedback from current employees about the company and job satisfaction. Delta uses the branded messaging approach, they make it known that they seek to recruit specific types of applicants for both professionals and skilled laborers. The current strategic plans of Delta Airlines will be analyzed to identify current HR initiatives that are currently utilized. The initiatives will further be examined to determine if their current HR initiatives match the strategic goals of the company. Finally the benefits of the initiatives will be evaluated to determine if results of the initiatives justify the cost expended to implement and support the initiative are cost effective.

Delta Airlines: Strategic Plan
Delta Air Lines’ was initially known in the agriculture industry as it was founded in 1924 as the world’s first aerial crop dusting organization long before it became a commercial airline industry powerhouse (Delta Airlines, n.d.). In 1934 Delta Air Corporation began operating as Delta Air Lines while serving passengers as well as operating U.S. Air Mail Route 24 for the United States Post Office. Delta offered its first night service in 1935 with the Stinson Model A which was the first Delta aircraft that required two pilots. The company began the use of stewardess and started to established flight crews. During 1942, Delta contributed to the war effort. The company completed modifications or more than 1000 aircrafts for various uses during the war and also provided training for Army pilots and mechanics. Delta began to operate under its corporate designation, as Delta Air Lines, Inc. in 1945 (Delta Airlines, n.d.). Delta continued to establish itself in the airline industry throughout the 50’s through the 60’s through expanding its route operations domestically and forming partnerships with other domestic airlines..
Through the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Delta Air Lines worked to establish its name as the premier the U.S. airline for customer service. The foundation of Delta’s customer service was based on a company with a culture of “southern hospitality” and employees who went above and beyond the call of duty (Delta Airlines, n.d.). The company’s human resource strategy helped build the skills, motivation and opportunities for employees to deliver great customer service, and that allowed Delta to attract business travelers who paid premium prices for travel (Wright, 2008). Delta’s success shows just how important HR strategy can be to the success of a company. Due to the economic crisis, fuel prices, and act of god, and other environmental crisis, the airline industry has suffered in the last ten years. In 1998, Delta made aviation history by carrying over 105 million passengers, breaking the company's previous record of 103 million set in 1997. With 70 years of experience and a renewed commitment to customer satisfaction, Delta now aims to be the best airline in the world (Delta Airlines, n.d.).
As Delta faced serious economic troubles in 2005-2006, the airline was able to rebound from those troubles and return their profits to the black. After the financial rebound, Delta went on to purchase another carrier which to increased its aircraft fleet and expand its service destinations. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Delta) is an air carrier based in Atlanta, Georgia that provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States and around the world. The Company offered customers service to destinations with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 321 destinations in 58 countries in January 2008. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offered more than 500 weekly flights to 63 destinations in January 2008. It is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with worldwide destinations, flights and services (Delta Airlines, n.d.). Delta has grown to become the world's largest commercial airline. The airline that was established in 1928 has overcome many adversities to establish itself in the airline industry. Currently it is the only airline to service all six permanently inhabited continents in the world. The company's structure and management approach have constantly evolved in order to maintain competitive in the cutthroat airline industry (Delta Airlines, n.d.). Despite filing for bankruptcy in 2005 Delta has managed to return to a profitable position and establish itself in a position to continue to be a major player in the commercial airline industry (Wright, 2008). Delta Airlines should hold its current market position into the future, and produce profitable margins. Though success is predicted, Delta does however acknowledge the potential threat from new entrants to the market, current cut price competitors and increasing overheads as problems that must be overcome in order to achieve this profitability. Delta has established itself in the domestic market but is making moves to expand globally. Moving into the international markets will bring about challenges and obstacles that may not be easy to conquer, but are not impossible. Handing the business internationally will be more complex than when Delta solely focused on the domestic market. There are variations in the political, social and economic environments across the world. They will need to adapt to the different pricings and products. The political factors may include the different types of government and political risks. There once was a time when Delta was very familiar with its stateside location and domestic markets, but in the last several years, Delta has become concerned with establishing partnerships with foreign airlines to expand operations to other countries (Wright, 2008). Business regulations will change and so will the policies around the world. Laws and regulations are more uniformed with a country, but differ a lot from coast to coast. Delta has to be ready for change and be able to conform to the different demands. As these strategies are not difficult to implement and the company will face its share of contention for consumers and competitors.
As a result of Delta’s attempt to continue global expansion, the airline has been faced with its share of scrutiny from current customers and religious groups who allege that the company is engaging in unscrupulous and unethical discriminatory business practices. Saudi Arabia does not allow non-Islamic religious articles within its borders, religious identity and a passenger’s religious articles are not barriers to flights on either Delta or Saudi Arabian Airlines flights (Banstetter, 2011). Delta has a standard industry agreement Saudi Air, that other airlines including US Airways, American and Alaska Airlines has as was well that allows passengers to book tickets with other carriers. Delta does not have any code sharing with any airline or flights to Saudi Arabia (Banstetter, 2011). Delta does not discriminate and the company does not condone discrimination against anyone in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender. Requirements to enter any country are dictated by that nation’s government, not the airlines, and they apply to anyone entering the country regardless of whether it’s by plane, bus or train.
As such, Airline consumers question if Delta is adopting any type of policies that could present barriers to travel for some passengers, but Delta is required to comply with all applicable laws governing entry into any country serviced by the airlines. The passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents, such as visas and certification of required vaccinations, and the airlines responsible for making sure that passengers have the proper documentation before they board (Banstetter, 2011).
In the wake of political controversy, one benefit that Delta does have on its side is that it is a company with an international employee base. The international employees have a working knowledge of Delta’s culture as well as a working knowledge of the political channels of their home countries. The international employees have an understanding the culture of their home countries which can be critically important when communicating cross-culturally. The fact that Delta currently has a small number of flights going to many of the countries in which they currently wish to expand is a plus because of the preexisting relationship currently established.
In addition to the business model the company’s website also provides additional marketing for the company. In viewing various aspects of the Delta website, any viewer will quickly notice that the website is very transparent in terms of the company, culture, employees, services, and importance of its consumers. The Delta website maintains the presence of a global company such as Delta. Due to its international presence, Delta is an appealing company and offers a great deal of information about the company, culture, and the benefits to jobseekers. Delta also places an emphasis on Global Diversity.
Furthermore, Delta’s website provides an abundance of information about the pre-hire process, benefits and perks, and feedback from current employees about the company and job satisfaction. The career section of the website boasts eye catching banners to make it known that Delta seeks to recruit specific types of applicants for both professionals and skilled laborers. There is no ambiguity about the benefits Delta provides and workplace environment the company offers which also makes it easy to attract the types of applicants the company desires. Delta targets both “white” and “blue” collar workers. The website boasts career opportunities for professionals, skilled laborers, and entry level job seekers. All companies are unique in that the culture of each was created in a manner that highlight teamwork as the critical component that makes each company a success in their respective industries. Delta offers competitive benefit packages to both full time and part time employees 30 days after their date of hire.
Delta does an excellent job in highlighting various affinity groups that they offer their employees. Delta has several affinity groups that provide networking and community outreach opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds. These groups include: Black Employee Network, Women’s Employee Network, Gay and Lesbian Employee Network, Asian and Pacific Islander Employee Network. Delta highlights diversity and their employees as their major area of concentration. Delta’s website provides comprehensive profile as to what they offer employees in term of all health and medical benefits, work life balance, and other benefits. Delta’s website is also very clear in terms what the company seeks in an employee and benefits offered to employees and providing information on the company and the culture. As Delta is an international company their website speaks to the needs and desires of potential jobseekers worldwide.
Diversity is important at Delta, because Delta proudly serves the entire world, by offering to service to more destinations than any global airline. With an intrinsic aim to ensure every traveler an enjoyable journey, regardless of the distance from their native land and language, it is essential that our associates represent a breadth of backgrounds and cultures parallel with our passengers (Delta Airlines, n.d.). The website states, that Delta has a view that the global market requires an innovative, inclusive workforce for business growth and as a result global diversity must be valued on a global level,
Delta defines diversity through incorporating characteristics of human diversity in, languages, ethnicity, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, education, religion, work experience, family status, capabilities, political views, geographic/regional identification, values, personalities, skills, education (formal and life), citizenship status, socio-economic background, community membership and communication styles to temper generalizations that may build barriers to global inclusion (Delta Airlines, n.d.). . Delta’s definition of diversity is to be inclusive the Customer Base it serves. Diversity represents a company's attitude that not only represents and values the individuality of its employees but also understands how to tap the potentially significant contributions inherent in diversity (Delta Airlines, n.d.). Delta supports a variety of activities and events covering a complete range of lifestyles and perspectives through sponsorship and participation.
Delta aims to keep its customers as it number one priority has been evident since 2010. The airline announced the largest product upgrade in a decade with plans to invest more than $2 billion through 2013 to improve the customer experience, including installing new full-flat beds and personal, in-seat video on all wide body aircraft; adding more First Class cabins to Delta Connection regional jets; renovating and adding new Delta Sky Clubs; and adding more First Class seats on domestic mainline flights (Delta Airline, n.d.). In addition to multiple expansions, press releases from the website also announced plans for a $1.2 billion renovation and expansion of facilities at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as well as the launching of the industry's first social media "ticket window," allowing customers to purchase tickets directly from Facebook and other social media sites.
Press releases published on the Delta website and information provided on the company’s blogs supports Delta’s commitment to its customer’s experience. The commitment to its customers is evidenced by the airline spending billions of dollars to expand operations and improve services provided and amenities offered. The commitment to its customers is also apparent in its desire to continuing expanding service to under serviced eastern nations. Delta’s current business model is driven by internal promotions, extensive training, high pay, non-union, flexible work rules, and family culture which delivers skilled, experienced, and committed employee, which yields outstanding customer service, high revenues and profits, and lowers cost (Wright, 2008). All aspects of the business model are still effective and return the desired results, which is a great indicator that the company can still use the model and ensure continued success.
Delta has it focus on its employees just as much as it does its customers; making pleasing both groups a priority. Delta employees are taking our airline to places we only dreamed of in the past. The website indicates that due to the hard work of Delta people, our airline is strong, with a bright future that includes new ideas, new experiences and new opportunities (Delta Airlines, n.d.). The Delta website states that “Delta Air Lines is about 21st century graciousness and passionate customer service. It's about having an engaging personality and the ability to listen; it's about composure and teamwork and so much more. Delta is about staying fresh with energy, curiosity and optimism.”
Overall, Delta has great reputation in the industry and a large part of that great reputation resulted from the company placing value on its employees who were charged with providing excellent service to employees. The established presence in the airline industry has enabled Delta to recruit and select the brightest and best employees who had skills and attitudes that fit well into the company’s family-oriented culture (Delta Airlines, n.d). Delta invested more than most airlines in training. Several other HR strategies have contributed to the success of Delta. According to Wright, the strategies included: maintaining a non-union status which allowed for flexible work rules that let employees react to any situation and get the job done; Creating an internal promotion system that has led to long employee tenure and a workforce with a wealth of experience and knowledge; and Offering high and competitive pay to employees which encouraged employees to remain loyal to with Delta because they recognized their investment the company place in assuring their happiness.

References:
Banstetter, T. (2011). Delta Blog: View from 30,000 Feet: Delta on Diversity

Retrieved from: http://blog.delta.com/2011/06/23/view-from-30000-feet-deltaon-

diversity/ (Banstetter, 2011)

Delta Airlines Retrieved from www.delta.com (Delta Airlines, n.d.).

Mello, J.A. (2011). Strategic Human Resource Management (3rd ed.). Mason, OH:
South-Western/Cengage. ISBN-13: 978-0-324-78962-1 ISBN-10: 0-324-78962-9.
Wright, P.M. (2008). SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series Adapting

to the Age of Globalization Retrieved from: http://www.shrm.org

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...Human Resource Management Delta Case Study: Improving Delta’s Profit Margin Written by Filiz McNamara, Ogochukwu Udekwe and Vicki Troftgruben February 21, 2011 Table of Contents Page Introduction 3 External Environment 3 Internal Environment 18 Systems and Stakeholder Analysis 32 Conclusion 34 Problem Identification 36 Generation and Evaluation of Alternatives 37 Recommendation 38 Decision Implementation 39 References 40 Introduction Delta Airlines was founded by C.E. Woolman, an agriculture extension agent (Anthony, Kacmar, & Perrewe, 2010).  C.E Woolman was not a banker, venture capitalist or war pilot, as many of the competing airlines were.  He didn’t have the aggressive military style that many of the other airline founders had.  What C.E. Woolman instilled within the employees at all levels of the organization is that people matter and should be treated fairly and equitably.  This philosophy led Delta Airlines to be the leader in customer service from the company’s inception through the many mergers over the years.  Through the difficult financial times when other airlines were laying off employees and filing for bankruptcy, Delta continued to pay their people well and keep them employed. There was an exception during the Ronald Allen CEO era of 1987 thru 1997.  Human relations took a significant down turn during his tenure as CEO, especially during 1993 and 1994, but Delta decided to part ways with Allen and began......

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