Human Resources

Blue Apron is faced with many challenges when it comes to hiring and retaining quality employees. Additionally, company culture is suffering which has a negative effect. This is because of a service-profit chain that establishes relationships between profitability, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, and productivity in which the internal factors are the drivers of customer satisfaction and profit (Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 2016). This makes getting human resources systems functioning well extremely important to the longevity of Blue Apron.

            According to reviews shared by current and former employees on, Blue Apron suffers from significant challenges including (“Blue Apron,” n.d.):

  • Reports of favoritism,
  • Lack of work/life balance due to long hours/overtime,
  • Poor communication from management,
  • Ineffective escalation of problems, and
  • No performance reviews for management.

Overall, employees appear to enjoy working with their peers, but they cite major problems in relations with management and human resources. Aside from the monetary losses from high turnover rates, the company could implement models aimed at increasing internal service, quality, employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, and employee productivity. The application of the OODA loop can facilitate this transition.

            To facilitate a top-level overhaul of the human resources function at Blue Apron, the OODA loop in Figure 1 can be applied.

Figure 1. Proposed Blue Apron new human resources system portrayed in OODA loop form.

Part of the challenge in the culture at Blue Apron is that the decision-making occurs without transparency, without sufficient written policies and procedures, and no code of conduct that governs behavior. Therefore, when conflicts arise that require swift action, the system in place relies on toxic feedback and behaviors. The Figure 1 system would rely instead on a strong foundation of human resources best practices that change the inputs. The observations, for example, at the top levels of the company would be more productive, show less favoritism, and result in higher-quality decisions and actions that are rooted in a willingness to change, transparency, and good communication.

            Also, a recognition-primed decision model could benefit a human resources improvement initiative. Figure 2 represents an adapted model for comparison.

Figure 2. Recognition-primed decision model adapted from Klein, 2017.

Researching making good decisions under extreme time pressure and uncertainty is what led to the creation of this model. Originally explored in firefighters, it became clear that when decisions were made within seconds, firefighters weren’t evaluating fewer options to compare like traditional decision-making theory would propose. Instead, they relied on the patterns they had developed over many years to quickly evaluate a situation (Klein, 2017). With this model relying so heavily on experience, it is perhaps not what should be the focus when starting the new way of doing HR at Blue Apron but instead be the goal. In other words, over time, the split-second decision making that sometimes happens during the course of work would result in higher-quality decision-making as long as the company had successfully implemented a new way of functioning that built the strong foundation and numerous experiences from which to draw positive patterns.

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