Tag Archive: Training and Development

 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. (http://southwest.investorroom.com)

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)




http://southwest.investorroom.com/. (n.d.).
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.




The only time training is needed, according to Stolovitch and Keeps (2012), is when there is a deficiency in skills and knowledge. However, for the purpose of an effective to take place (Noe, 2010), identifies several training methods that involve action in learning.

Action in Learning Methods:

  1. Experiential training Program: Is tied to a specific business problem. Trainees are moved outside their personal comfort zones, but the zone does not reduce the trainees motivation or ability to understand the purpose of the program. In order; however, for this learning to be successful, multiple learning modes are used, which are audio, visual, and kinesthetic.

  2. the Adventure training Program: Focus on the development of teamwork and leadership skills through structured activities, which include training in the wilderness–outdoors, drum circles, and cooking classes.

  3. Team Training Program: Coordinates the performance of individuals who work together to achieve a common goal. For the successful accomplishment of this type of training, participants’ communicate, coordinate, adapts, and complete tasks objectively. The knowledge requires participants to have mental models or memory structures that allows them to function effectively in an unanticipated or new situations.

  4. Cross Training Program: Provide understanding and practices for each type of skills so that the participants are prepared to step in and take the place of a team member who may temporarily be on leave, etc.

  5. Coordination Training Program: Instructs the team in how to share information and decision-making responsibilities to maximize performance. The best group for this type of training is commercial aviation or surgical teams who are in charge of monitoring different aspects of equipment and environment.

  6. Team Leader Training: Is the type of training that team managers or facilitators receives. It involves training managers on how to resolve conflict within the team coordinated activities or other team skills. Of course, employees need technical skills that can help them accomplish various job functions.

Action Learning: This learning gives teams an actual problem and have them work to solve it, and commit the problem to an action plan. It also holds the members’ accountable for carrying out the plan.

Six Sigma and Black Belt Training: Provides employees with measurement and statistical tools to help reduce defects and cut costs. The participants in this training are required to attend workshops and complete assignments that are coached by expert instructors. The training consists of 4-day sessions for 16 weeks. After the training, the participants must demonstrate their learning achievement.


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

Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2012). Training ain‘t performance. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.