People Management Practice – Southwest Airlines

The paper focuses on people-management practices mostly embraced in corporations. It demystifies the overall people-management strategy of the company, the approaches to motivation and rewards for employees, the company’s culture and ability to attract and retain employees and finally the recommendations for solidifying the companies’ employee’s strategy.   It specifically discusses the case of Southwest Airlines. This is one of the major airline company in the United States, with its headquarters based in Dallas, Texas. It was established in 1967 and is argued to e one of the world’s largest low cost airlines.

Overall people Management strategy.

The Chief Executive of Southwest Airlines always reiterates that the airline’s strength is its people and that is what gives them a competitive advantage. This shows how deeply committed Southwest Airlines is to the people-management strategy. In its mission of dedicating the highest quality services to customers with cream of friendliness, sociability, pride and overall comfort. The corporation is dedicated to offer the workforces with a conducive environment at work together with equivalent chance for both personal growth and overall learning (Michaels, 2015). As part of motivating its people, the airlines also encourages creativity and innovation so as to improve efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.

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Above all, all employees are treated equally and provided with equal admiration, gentle attitude inside the business and thus are all required to segment the same outwardly with all Southwest Airline customers. The airline’s passion is in the people. It operates with a servant heart, a warrior spirit, and an enjoyable approach. This spirit turns into a steadfast obligation to all its personnel, stakeholders, clienteles and the populations where they have spread their wings. The airlines is also keen on conserving and innovating, treating others the way they would expect to be treated and striving to do what is right passionately. The final management strategy that Southwest Airlines uses is employee engagement. This is the strategy that gives them a competitive edge. It utilises the measurement of employee satisfaction. This is conducted by obtaining feedback from employee levels of satisfaction. All feedback is synthesised and an action plan set up to address any dissatisfactions and also celebrate all the gains that may accrue from the people (Michaels, 2015).

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Approach to employee rewards and motivation.

Southwest Airlines has one of the best employee reward and motivation schemes or approaches amongst the world’s leading airlines. It offers its family of workers the benefits of god healthcare, financial security, and positive impact, grow and learn, work hard, create and innovate and enjoy themselves at the same time. All the employees benefit from the airlines’ employee benefit program. The airline listens to all employee needs and in the long run add convenience and value to its all-inclusive benefit package. All the employees also have a prior of tax traveller benefit program which aid them address the fluctuation prices of gas. Other supplementary benefits that come with the package include cover for accidental death and dismemberment. All of the above benefits are accessible to all the permanent and part-time personnel. Finally is the advancement of knowledge, Training for the personal of Southwest Airlines is not only for proficiency at work, but also for personal knowledge growth and development. Therefore all the employees are encouraged to grow wholly in every sphere. This keeps all the staff motivated all the time.

Company’s culture.

Southwest Airlines has a very responsive and impressive culture. The first tradition that it has maintained for a very long time is its principle of being able to give opportunities of employment in a balanced and unbiased way. Any person who is duly qualified considered for employment and will not be differentiated on the base of sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, gender or any other legally protected status. The other principle is Diversity. The airlines has a setup that encompasses a variety of experiences and backgrounds which forms its shared culture. Multi-faceted employee base is the key competitive advantage in the economic marketplace (Kerpen, 2016).

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Third is consideration of applicants with disabilities. The airlines has a standard policy for the employment of or opportunities in the affirmative field and disability. It provide realistic room in its processes of application for competent persons with disabilities and disabled troupers. The airlines also believes in giving back to the society and communities they serve. This develops a culture of giving selflessly by the employees. Thus most employees offer their own free time and resources to donations all over the country and regions where the airlines operate.

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Ability to attract and retain employees.

For Southwest Airlines, most of its systems work well to attract and retain the employees from is recruitment system, training and development, performance management and the reward and recognition systems. For the recruitment, the airline is keen in tapping talent and the most qualified candidates for the job. The airline is known for its culture of transparency in job placements and recruitment. Any fit candidate gets a chance for employment and will not be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, gender or any other legally protected status. It utilizes staffing forecasts and recruiting plans for prioritizing and predicting recruitment requirements. This entirely ensures the company and the candidate learn as much as possible about each other. Second is development and training. Southwest Airlines does provide workforces not only the training that is essential for their work, but again the skills they need to progress in their individual professions (Michaels, 2015). The company offers both in-house training but also inspire personnel to join external training and further specialize in their separate turfs. This keeps all the staff motivated all the time. The airline also has a state of the art in-house university at the headquarters called University of People that offers workers training and expansion for their career and management wit.

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The Airlines also has a training program called Manager-in-training Program. This is basically for all employees who would want to further pursue leadership and management skills and corporate issues. Southwest airlines recognises that investing in its employees is the greatest fit for success in the airline industry. As a competitive advantage, all the employees are given an opportunity to advance their skills through continuous training and further education. Thirdly is performance management. Southwest Airlines acknowledges that the quantity of each employee’s concert is vital to warrant the staff is meeting set anticipations (Lawson, 2015). It also understands that performance management allows for feedback, gives employees opportunity to improve and also to address performance issues when the employee is not meeting expectations. The airlines, differ with other competitors in the process of performance management in that it does it all year round rather than annually. This means that they not only reward high performers and manage problem performers and a continuous basis, but also tie compensation increases and bonuses to best performers. This makes the airline competitive since employee will be motivated thorough the year. Finally is reward and recognition. Southwest Airlines demonstrates its employees value and shows its appreciation for the contribution that they make to the company and go a long way in boosting their morale by providing a conducive and happy workplace and working conditions. This is important for many reasons. Southwest Airlines understands that happy employees are much more productive to service delivery.

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All the employees benefit from the airlines’ employee benefit program. Benefits to the employees is not biased in any way. All of the workforce, both on full time employment and the ones on part time get equal benefits. This plays as a huge competitive advantage against other airlines who provide limited benefits to part time and intern workforce. The greatest disadvantages that come with the above ability or strength to retain employees is the cost of maintaining the huge pool of staff and at the same time keeping the satisfied to allow effective and optimal output (Kerpen, 2016). It is too costly and may undermine the actual reason for business which is optimization of gains and reduction of costs. The other disadvantage is focussing so much on the employees to a level of almost forgetting the core reason of the business. Especially when employees advance their skill set and later transfer to other airlines.


The major recommendation in this case is that Westside Airlines should balance as much as possible the ambitious strategies with the cost implications. Some of the strategies may be costing the airline so much that it may stain its profitability motive. Thus, the strategies must be cost effective but at the same time ensure employee satisfaction. Second, there must be a proper reward strategy. With the level of motivation that employees will have, it will be very easy to drain their morale when promotions are not done merit. Finally, the airline should also focus on the customers’ feedback to assist in improving on service delivery and for appraisal purposes of the employees.

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