Southwest Airlines is improving its recruitment thanks to employee advocacy

Facebook Job postings

Context

Southwest Airlines is a major U.S. airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and the world’s largest low-cost carrier. Their vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline. Their mission is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.

For more than 40 years they have helped travelers to get the best experience with the lowest fare. Quality of service is at the heart of their strategy, with employees at the center of this quality.

“Our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring long term competitive advantage.”

– Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines

Getting the right people at the right location can be a difficult challenge for an airline. Job locations are very specific and the presence of multiple companies in one airport makes the competition fierce for qualified profiles. The company was facing this in airports that they are operating in.

To bridge the gap they wanted to activate the reach of their employees’ social networks. Referral recruitment is well known to be the most efficient and one the cheapest source of hires. Some employees were already sharing jobs manually on social networks but they had to come back on their ATS each time they wanted to share. Plus the format of sharing was a simple url and not attractive enough to gather the attention of potential candidates.

job posts on Facebook

Southwest Airlines wanted to improve this process with a platform that allows employees to automatically share jobs in engaging formats on their social networks.

Why they came to Work4

To solve this pain point, the company chose to setup W4 Ambassadors in the second quarter of 2017. The technology allows any employee to set up automated sharing of job offers on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The jobs are automatically imported from the ATS and made available on the platform. To start the sharing, an employee can sign up in less than two minutes and enter some rules they would like the system to follow such as which kinds of jobs to share and at what frequency to share. The technology will then follow those rules and automatically share jobs to the users social networks.

Additionally, the system uses 25 images that Southwest Airlines provided to create a job card for each shared job so the posts and tweets will be attractive and maximize the interaction with candidates.

Southwest Airlines rapidly rolled out the usage of W4 Ambassadors to employees thanks to their team of recruiters. At first they tested the tool on a core team of recruiters, and then trained over 1,000 people on the usage of the tool. They even organized contests between the teams to see who could get the most people to sign up and who could share the most jobs which helped the adoption of W4 Ambassadors.

recruitment ad

“We have seen great success with W4 Ambassadors and we have certainly seen the ROI advantage of this program”.

– Kelby Tansey, Ambassadors Program Manager

Results

Over 12 months, Southwest employees have shared jobs 42,392 times using the W4 Ambassadors platform. Those job shares were then clicked on 87,245 times by candidates who saw them in their social media news feeds. And the results have been accelerating. In February 2018, employees shared jobs 13,752 times and those job shares were then clicked on 20,038 times in one month. Because of the success, Kelby Tansey who is the Ambassadors program manager at Southwest Airlines states that “We have seen great success with W4 Ambassadors and we have certainly seen the ROI advantage of this program”.

In order to maintain the success, selected groups of employees are trained on how to use the Work4 platform. Internal documents were created to help the adhesion and recruiters continue to market the added value of the referral program for the company.

Southwest Airlines People department also experienced an additional added value of W4 Ambassadors. The usage of the platform empowers employees and provides a tool for engagement as they have a direct impact on the quality of people joining the company. “We have also seen great success from a cultural standpoint.”

“I have been incredibly impressed by the quality of the tool and the team, and I will be happy to recommend it.”

– Kelby Tansey, Ambassadors Program Manager