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Writing Southwest Airlines Hiring Strategy Discussion

Writing Southwest Airlines Hiring Strategy Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a writing question and need support to help me learn.

A number of years ago, Southwest Airlines made one of the boldest moves in the business world.  They re-engineered their corporate culture and incorporated fun and light-hearted client interactions as key components into their workplace.  This really was revolutionary and broke the stodgy and more formal “norm” that had been established and expected in the commercial airline industry.  The pilots and flight attendants were no longer just responsible for ensuring that seatbelts were fastened and that drinks and peanuts arrived precisely at a certain altitude in the sky, but they were now more directly responsible for boosting customer confidence that even included cracking jokes, ensuring that customers smiled and laughed, and increased feelings of relaxation throughout their journey in the sky together.  Even the uniforms lightened up, transitioning from a “corporate” crisp uniform to a much more relaxed and casual attire where shorts and polo shirts were not only acceptable but encouraged.  As Herb Kelleher, former Southwest Airlines CEO used to say, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude”.  Therefore, hiring for minimal skill and maximum attitude became the cornerstone for Southwest Airlines.

What do you think about this approach?  If hiring for attitude (soft skills) over technical skills (hard skills) and experience was the recipe for success at Southwest, why haven’t all businesses adopted the Herb Kelleher approach?  What do you think should be the leading reason people get hired?  Why?  Please be sure to fully explain and support your position.

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