Southwest Airlines continues commitments towards employee diversity, equity and inclusion goals
Southwest Airlines has unveiled the progress that it has achieved over the course of 2021 within its employee and customer diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
Southwest Airlines has shared an update with its employees, customers and partners on the progress that the airline has made during the last year (2021) and its next steps within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) roadmap. In September 2020, Southwest Airlines announced company goals to strengthen and improve efforts to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive job opportunities and candidate pipelines, while championing a welcoming environment for all employees.
“Summer 2020 was a season of learning for Southwest Airlines in many ways; it heightened our awareness of social injustice and initiated an increased focus on our own diversity and inclusion efforts,” said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice and incoming CEO at Southwest Airlines. “We identified that the first step toward accomplishing these goals was concentrating on key areas such as: diversifying senior leadership; enhancing diversity in hiring; providing mentorship and sponsorship opportunities; improving the retention and upward mobility of diverse talent; and training leaders and employees. In the past year, we have taken tangible steps to update the required infrastructure, processes and practices to meet these objectives.”
In the past year, we have taken tangible steps to update the required infrastructure, processes and practices to meet our objectives”
The carrier is making steady progress in its processes to increase racial and gender diversity in leadership. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Department formed an Executive Steering Committee to support the strategic direction of this progress. Additional strides include evolving the company’s talent acquisition processes by requiring diverse candidate pools, inclusion training for all hiring leaders, and the creation of a Diversity Recruiting Centre of Excellence (COE).
Southwest Airlines is currently working with more than 188 community partners in support of its efforts to continue developing diverse and inclusive talent pipelines and expanding recruiting efforts. Southwest also recently launched a formal Sponsorship and Mentorship Programme and is enhancing its existing Supplier Diversity Programme.
Southwest also launched a DEI Employee resource website, created an Allyship Guide and introduced the ability for employees to develop diversity-focused groups. The purpose of these initiatives is to empower employees to explore, educate and further connect in the DEI space.
Jordan added: “We recognise that our work is not done. Our goal is to cultivate a diverse and inclusive experience for all to thrive. We will continue to fuel this ongoing momentum as we strive for sustainable and systemic change through consistent progress.”
In addition to evolving its current initiatives, the DEI Department is partnering with the Corporate Strategy Team on a five-year plan to build a DEI enterprise strategy. Southwest‘s motivation is to continue being a healthy organisation where employees thrive, feel appreciated, valued and have an authentic sense of belonging. The goal is to provide regular progress updates on the company’s commitments, share a plan of action and announce a long-standing DEI vision later in 2021.