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United Airline’s lesson from issuing mandates

The New York Times covers the decision-making process within United Airlines in regards to vaccine mandates and their decision to implement one.      United was an early mover on implementing a mandate, and their workforce is diverse.    The racial breakdown at the company roughly matches the US population, and employees range from professionals with advanced degrees to workers who haven’t finished high school.  

Here’s the punchline – it’s been a success.   Out of the 67,000 or so employees, the number who had failed to comply dropped below 240 as of last Friday.      

And a stat to note out of this.   United has received more job applications for open positions than previously – by a significantly higher ratio.  For 2000 flight attendant positions, the company received 20,000 applications.     United executives also indicate that they have been surprised by the positive feedback, which has far outweighed any criticism. 

Why do we care?

So much for the worker shortage, huh?    

I’m highlighting this story as an example of leadership.  United executives saw the problem, tracked the options, were among the first movers to what data was indicating is a popular position, and are benefiting from first mover positioning.

That said, you don’t have to be among the first to take advantage of positioning like this.     It’s a great soundbite to make this polarizing.  The data doesn’t say so, and the market isn’t either.