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Southwest Airline’s Transparency and Empowerment Culture

Hiring the right employees for any position in a company is critical in ensuring customer satisfaction and efficiency. However, many people have the technical and educational qualifications but not the right attitude. Therefore, identifying a person with the right mindset for any position at the workplace is an essential milestone in the hiring process. Service companies are more affected by the employees’ attitudes and decision-making abilities. For instance, airline companies deal with consumers with high expectations for quality services. Due to competition and the need to boost performance, airline companies focus on maximizing the number of people using the airlines. Therefore, hiring the right people and instilling the right attitude is critical to an airline’s success. In the case of Southwest Airlines, the main problem is identifying the persons with the right attitude during the hiring process. Therefore, there is a need for the company to enhance the employees’ attitude towards coworkers and customers, improve their services delivery skills, reduce conflicts among employees and with customers, and effectively compensate the employees for their performance to maintain their attitude.

Kelsey Harper, a budding leader at Southwest Airlines, has to identify the right employees to work for the airline. However, it was easy for her to recite the qualities she believed were required of the airline employees but hard to determine the interviewees with these requirements. Southwest Airlines values its employees and treats them with honor. Also, the company aims at ensuring that employees have the right attitude towards their work. According to Scandura (2017), an attitude refers to the psychological tendency people express after evaluating a particular entity. Such an attitude could be in favor or disfavor. Therefore, ensuring that all employees display the right attitude requires managers to ensure job satisfaction (Scandura, 2017).


The company has four alternatives that could help achieve its goals. The first one is to conduct assessments on employees during working hours to determine how they handle customers and coworkers. The inspections would focus on employees’ attitudes towards their coworkers and customers before, during, and after their working hours. The assessments help employees to display their skills in a real-job setting and allows trainers to collect data that helps in achieving efficacy in the training progress. For example, during an incident in 2014 whereby a father and his two sons were deplaned for tweeting about a rude employee, the on-the-job assessments could have identified the employee’s conduct and determine whose error it was.

The second option is to enhance the employee skills through training programs to ensure employees have the right attitudes. Such training should be conducted frequently to ensure employees are up to date with any emerging issues. Southwest Airline could rely on its most experienced employees to train the new ones or hire trainers from other companies. Whichever the case, training should focus on developing a positive attitude among employees.

Thirdly, the company could conduct background checks on applicants before hiring them to determine how they acquired their attitudes. For instance, potential employees who may have worked in frustrating jobs where they had to deal with rude and unprofessional workmates may have developed their attitudes from this exposure. Such information could be useful in the determining training sessions and goals.

Lastly, the company could design a compensation program that recognizes the efforts of employees to ensure the airline is ranked competitively. Compensation is a useful tool in motivating employees to act in a certain way. For example, if the applicants are assured of financial and promotional benefits if their attitude-based rating is satisfactory, they could work to ensure they deliver their best for the business.


The alternatives suggested above have pros and cons that could determine their suitability. The first suggestion is to have frequent on-work assessments. The advantages of this option are that it will keep employees alert to their duty to maintain a positive attitude. It is also cost-effective because the airline can do it within the company. The cons are that its results could be affected by the Hawthorne effect. Hawthorne effect refers to a situation whereby people behave as expected when they are aware of a third party observing their behavior (Mostafazadeh-Bora, 2020). For example, when people notice the management has an observation program meant to assess how they handle employees and coworkers, they are likely to behave in a way that pleases the observers. The second recommendation is to conduct training sessions. The advantages of the option are that it will improve employees’ skills, motivate employees, and reduce errors. Investing in employee training also shows the company values them. Therefore, it increases their loyalty. Improved knowledge also leads to higher earnings because skilled employees work efficiently. The cons are that it is expensive and requires a lot of time to accomplish. Training costs can be daunting if training is done outside the company’s premises. It also requires time away from work. Also, poor quality training could lead to worse employee training. Third, background checks on employees to ensure they have the right attitudes could help understand individuals’ background training and abilities. However, it may not reveal the current skills and requires much time and money to accomplish. Some background checks may also threaten employees’ privacy. Lastly, the airline’s compensation program is a viable option because it could create transparency and fairness, motivate employees, and reduce negative attitudes caused by job dissatisfaction. However, it is expensive to sustain, mainly if the company’s performance does not improve.


The most viable decision is to combine two of the alternatives above. The analysis shows that training and introducing a compensation program that matches performance could have the best outcomes. The decision is based on the need to ensure the company can sustain positive attitudes and create a culture that encourages people to have a positive attitude towards employees and customers. According to Scandura (2017) transparency and effective compensation increases job satisfaction. Also, Bercu (2017) noted that training enhances job satisfaction. Therefore, combining the two alternatives will increase job satisfaction. Consequently, job satisfaction will lead to positive attitudes among the employees (Scandura, 2017). According to judge et al. (2017), there is a close link between job satisfaction and work attitude. Therefore, the combined strategies guarantee job satisfaction and a positive attitude among employees and towards customers. Also, the high cost of training could be reduced by conducting all training within the company’s facilities. Time wastage could also be minimized by training employees in the evenings and early mornings before office hours.

Action Plan

Implementing the suggested alternatives would only be effective if the company uses the right timing and resources rationally. Therefore, an action plan would help ensure successful advancement. First, all training should take place within the company to ensure they are cost-effective. Conducting them outside will require extra costs for hiring facilities and commuting. Training sessions should start from January 2022, giving the company adequate time to plan the topics and prepare trainers. Future training should be every three months. The high frequency ensures new employees are included, and employees are up to date with emerging issues. All employees will be required to attend at least two training sessions annually. Experienced employees and external trainers will choose the topics to be taught, and each session is expected to cost between $45,000 and $50,000. The money will be spent on paying trainers, awarding the best trainees, and buying refreshments. The reward system will be implemented from January 2022, whereby transparent voting by customers will be used to determine the employees with the best attitude. The reward system will include $1000 bonuses to all employees who get more than ten positive feedbacks. The two alternatives are intended to attract, maintain, and motivate employees with a positive attitude towards each other, their work, and customers. However, in case they fail, the contingency plan would be to pay for training sessions in other airlines for employees playing critical roles in the company, annually. Therefore, all employees serving in the planes would receive a two-weeks training session in other airlines within the region. The option is expensive but guarantees high skills and performance.


Southern Airlines’ employees’ attitude towards each other and consumers is a critical factor affecting how the company performs. However, the suggested solutions could help the company deal with the employees’ job satisfaction and skills challenges. Training employees and rewarding them for good performance could enhance their willingness to avoid conflicts and maintain a desirable organizational culture. The airline could use the alternatives to reduce work-related disputes that could affect the company’s future success and reputation.


Bercu, A. M. (2017). Impact of employees’ training programs on job satisfaction. Current Science, 1340-1345.

Judge, T. A., Weiss, H. M., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., & Hulin, C. L. (2017). Job attitudes, job satisfaction, and job affect: A century of continuity and change. Journal of Applied Psychology102(3), 356.

Mostafazadeh-Bora, M. (2020). The Hawthorne effect in observational studies: Threat or opportunity?. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology41(4), 491-491.

Scandura, T. A. (2017). Essentials of organizational behavior: An evidence-based approach. Sage publications.


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