Planning for a Needs Assessment

Southwest airlines is a company I almost always use when flying to any destination. Their principles are basically serving people in a friendly, reliable manner. “We are committed to a common Purpose: to connect you to the important moments in your life through friendly, reliable, and low-cost travel. That Purpose fuels our passion in serving more than 100 million Customers a year” (Gary Kelly, 2014).

From personal experience, I can say that this is something that Southwest Airlines achieves to do. I especially love the fact that I can fly with two bags and one carryon bag for free. “This year we were ranked No. 1 in Customer Service by the Airline Quality Ratings, and we consistently receive the lowest number of Customer complaints to the Department of Transportation” (Gary Kelly, 2014). According to the greeting from the CEO of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, they have very minimal customer complaints and I believe the company is built on sound principles, so I would approach the company with an Organizational Analysis first, then I would conduct a person and task analysis together. By doing the organizational analysis it, “may suggest that a company does not want to spend financial resources on training. However, if a person analysis reveals that a large number of employees lack a skill in an important area that is related to the company’s business objectives (such as customer service), upper-level managers may decide to reallocate financial resources for training” (Noe, 2013 p. 121).

The stakeholders I would address to make sure they buy-in to the training is upper management, CEO Gary Kelly, and the employees. During the organizational analysis I would ask the managers “Which persons or groups (e.g., employees, managers, vendors, suppliers, and program developers) have an interest in seeing training succeed? Whose support do we need? Will employees perceive the training program as an opportunity? Reward? Punishment? Waste of time? (Noe, 2013 pp. 122).  In the person analysis I would want to interview each person that may have a complaint against them, a few managers and employees to measure personal characteristics to identify the characteristics where most people are lacking. “To determine whether training is needed to solve a performance problem, managers need to analyze characteristics of the performer, input, output, consequences, and feedback“(Noe, 2013 pp. 133). The task analysis may or may not be done it just depends on previous results. “Task analysis should only be undertaken only after the organizational analysis has determined that the company wants to devote time and money for training” (Noe, 2013 pp. 135). I would definitely want to see documents about the complaints that have been given to Southwest Airlines and information about the customer service given to each passenger.


Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.



5 thoughts on “Planning for a Needs Assessment

  1. I have always been impressed by Southwest’s focus on customer service and the fact that their employees have a stake in the company.

    It sounds like you have a good plan to approach the training evaluation. Would you also see what training they have in place already and how that is contributing or not contributing to their strategic goals and objectives?


    • Hi Kim,
      Thank you for your response and kind words. I think it is great to look into current trainings that may or may not be contributing to obtaining the goals and objectives of the company.

  2. Hi Montrice,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I also choose an airline, specifically American Airlines. As someone who has never flown on Southwest Airlines and with this merge, I will also focus on how is the staff being developed. Given that it is a small airline and with US Airways taking over some of their route, they may want to make sure that they don’t loose their talent to the stronger airline. In addition, I would reinforce the training on their loyalty program if they have one.

    Cheers, Massiel

    • Hi Massiel,
      Thank you for your response! I have actually had the opportunity to fly on American Airlines as well. I think Southwest has better perks for customers which is why I fly using Southwest Airlines more frequently than any other airline. I think that you have some great ideas on what to focus on.

  3. Hi Montrice, I enjoyed your post as always and like the idea of researching some of the complaints. Do you think researching the positive comments could prove to help with continued success in customer service ?

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