In the world where every territory is in financial crisis, the workforce is looking for the best company which can bring them profits to deliver them from such misery. The more established company brands even seem to falter to date. However, the case of Southwest Airlines, which bring people closer to their homes, is differently working on its human resources to combat financial losses incurred by other companies. It seized the opportunity to make its company the best company, if not most profitable, to work for.
Southwest Airlines, with Kelleher on the leader of the board, made it to the top, with high hopes of making the organization as a model organization because of its unique human resources approach. It is an organization which values more its employees than its customers. Ironic as it is but it has the highest and considered very profitable from among the big and small airline industries in the US. Southwest was able to establish its own niche market, those who travel a lot in many close locations.
In doing so, it was able to be the best airline which could go to smaller fields, and serve the millions of customer on the whole US. It went away from the norm that airline trips should cost as much, and air travel should be long hauled. To compete with the monstrous existing airline carriers, it paved the way into fast tracking domestic flights, hoping from city to city in shorter routes. And to serve the customers on time, it should have a short turn around time.
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To do that, “Southwest used the same model of airbus for all its flights”(http:// www. southwest. com). “Now, since its flights use the same model, the pilots can actually take turns on flying different planes” (http://www. bluefishgroup. com). The knowledge of every pilot is learned by another pilot. Interestingly, the ability to cut on cost by cutting long trips into single journey short trips increased the income of the company. However, with that scheme, Southwest management saw the degradation of services in time, with high employee tiredness.
To counter such anxiety, Kelleher, the top manager, led the company by strengthening the relationship of each employee. It based the work attitude into a company-ownership scheme, whereby incentives would come in ownership of shares of the company. This greatly increased the efficiency of the employees. This enrichment of benefits of the employees saw the turn-around of events whereby even a pilot can find time to wash and scrub its own plane. With that in mind, people began to love their “own” company, thus contributing to its great success.
For Kelleher, employee satisfaction delivers. He based his strategy on organizational commitment to service and its workplace. For one thing, when an employee enjoys his job, then he is expected to do better in his job, and the opposite will happen if the employee is not happy. So the culture of humor on the job is important on making employees feel better on their jobs. It is a fact that “internal resources are more important for a firm than external factors in achieving and sustaining competitive advantage. ”(David, 2007, p. 119)
So on the question whether or not Southwest should be emulated on its human resources strategy, it should be said that the question is rather an understatement. This is one of the competitive advantages which Southwest Airlines have as a good practice. In the long run, with the high chance of employee stress, considering its operations strategy, Southwest has the capability to make its employees stay.
David, F. R. 2007. An Introduction to Strategic Management, Concepts and Cases, 11th Ed. South Carolina: Prentice Hall. www. bluefishgroup. com www. southwest. com
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