Recruitment at Southwest Airlines:
Southwest makes a deliberate and a conscious effort to hire people who are good at working in a team. The organization then works hard at enhancing those team building skills by giving them training for relational competence. Unlike companies who hire elite talent or poach them from competitors, Southwest believes in hiring new recruits and training them to become future leaders of their organization. The most important aspect they look for in an employee is whether he would be able to integrate smoothly with the other members of his team. There is a deliberate attempt to hire people with the right attitude and train them to lead the company in future.
Southwest’s hiring criteria extends to not only the customer service people or the cabin crew or the ground staff but also to the mechanics and pilots, who are normally hired only based on their skills. “We have worked for years to get to this point. We have a very heated, potentially dangerous operation on the ramp. There is a lot of stress when the plane is on the ground. Inevitably some conflict will arise. If something happens out of the ordinary, if you feel someone didn’t handle something correctly, you fill out a report. We got so many reports after a while we added a line. ‘If it involved a Southwest employee, have you discussed it with him or her?’ If we got a form where the answer was no, we would call and say, why don’t you all have a chat? The local managers will help get the people together. When the senior managers get the final report, we decide if a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting is needed. We tell them this is not a disciplinary meeting. We are just moderators; the focus is on the employees.” – Colleen Barret, COO, Southwest Airlines
One practice that illustrates the success of this practice of theirs is that, in Southwest, when the flight is running behind schedule and they need to hurry, the pilot does not hesitate to carry the baggage and load it into the...
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