Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Company is a low-fare major domestic airline, continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers, offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. In the business for 40 years, Southwest Airlines was incorporated in Texas and Commenced Customer Service on June 19, 1971 with three Boeing 737 aircraft serving three Texas cities—Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

Today, Southwest Airlines is the nations’ largest carrier in term s of originating domestic passengers boarded serving 73 cities in 38 states. On May 2, 2011, Southwest Airlines completed the acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc., and now operates AirTran Airways as a wholly owned subsidiary. Southwest Airlines has among the lowest cost structures in the domestic airline industry, consistently offers the lowest and simplest fares and has one of the best overall Customer Service records. Southwest Airlines is the most honored airlines in the world for its commitment to the triple bottom line of performance, people, and planet. (

Rationale Statement

The rationale behind the Needs Assessment for Southwest Airlines is essential in the training practices to analyze who need training, to identify tasks and knowledge, skills, and behaviors that need to be emphasized for performance improvement, and to identify pressure points concerning knowledge and skills deficit. To identify a solution to performance issues, identify proper learning sequence in terms of content, objectives, or methods needed for an effective training program, identify whether Southwest Airlines is benefiting from its investment, and identify training participants.  

Needs Assessment for Southwest Airlines

Assessment Analysis Questions

Needs Assessment Technique

Organizational Analysis

  • Strategic Direction
  • Training support for Managers, and Employees.
  • Training Resources (Noe, 2009)
How does the training program align with the business strategic needs? (Noe, 2009)Are there experts available who can help develop the program
content and ensure that employees understand the needs of the
business as the training program are developed? (Noe, 2009)How will employees know that the training program is an
opportunity for rewards, punishment or waste of their time? (Noe,
2009)Are there sufficient resources for training?(Noe, 2009)
Documented training materials and records. (Noe, 2009)   
Person AnalysisPerson Characteristics (Noe, 2009)

  • Basic Skills

   Cognitive Ability
Reading Level

  • Self-efficacy
  • Awareness of training needs


  • Understand what, how, when to perform
  • Situational constraints
  • Social Support
  • Opportunity to perform


  • Expectations for learning and performance


  • Norms
  • Benefits
  • Rewards


  • Frequency
  • Specificity
  • Detail
What prior skills, knowledge and abilities do employees need to accomplish the business objectives?  (Noe, 2009)What verbal, quantities ability, and reasoning abilities do
employees have to process understanding of the learning materials?
(Noe, 2009)Are there nontraining intervention plan in place for training opportunities for all employees? (Noe, 2009)How will training meet the needs of the organization.(Noe, 2009)Who should attend training to achieve the job performing standards? (Noe, 2009)What are the employees’ attitudes toward training?Are there incentives in place to reward employees’ achievement? (Noe, 2009)What measurement is in place to determine proper performance or consequences for non-performance? (Noe, 2009)What feedback processes are in place to provide employees
evident of performance? For example, What were the greatest problem
encountered as a new coach and trainer? What mistakes were made, if
any?(Noe, 2009)
The employees who attend training at Southwest Airlines (Noe, 2009):

  • Technical services
  • Administrative services
  • Information services
  • Aircraft operations
  • People services
  • Managing Directors
  • Supervisors and manager
  • Directors.

Questionnaires are inexpensive and data can be collected
from a large pool of employees. In addition, organizational analysis
using questionnaires allow employees to participate in the needs
assessment process without compromising the functionality of their
job. (Noe, 2009)

Questionnaires results will be verified ensure consistence in performance. (Noe, 2009)

Task Analysis Do you have employees with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to compete in the marketplace? (Noe, 2009)What impact in the organization can training helps in performance improvement? (Noe, 2009) Online Technology software
monitor system to track employees performance and identify training
needs and provide employees with feedback regarding their skill
strengths and weaknesses.(Noe, 2009)



Reference (n.d.).
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.