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2010 One Report: People—Our Greatest Strength

Adventurer C

This is the fifth in a series of posts about our just-released integrated annual report, the 2010 Southwest Airlines One Report™, where we have illustrated our commitment to a triple bottomline and how our passion and focus on Performance, People, and Planet continues to propel us forward.

The business of business is People.  Southwest’s founder, Herb Kelleher, is famous for saying many things (I’ve witnessed firsthand and heard many a story!), but he knew that the key to our success is our Employees.  Our People are as essential as the air we breathe—since 1971 they have been and are the Spirit of Southwest because of the positive and lasting relationships built with our Customers over the last 40 years. We would not survive without them.

At Southwest Airlines, we’re a Family dedicated to our Employees, our Customers, and the communities we serve. Our unique corporate Culture, commitment to giving back, and putting Employees first contributes to our being recognized as a best place to work.

As Chief People Officer, I along with my tens of thousands of co-hearts enjoy the Freedom to pursue good health, create financial security, travel, make a positive difference, learn and grow, create and innovate, work hard, have FUN, and stay connected.  This type of environment nurtures our Employees’ natural response to do the right thing and deliver that Southwest hospitality that has made us legendary throughout the world. 

We also take care of our People with award-winning benefits to stay healthy and plan for the future.  We can proudly say that in 2010 more than 35,000 active and inactive Employees participated in at least one component of Southwest Airlines’ Employee benefits program, to which we contributed more than $590 million on an accrual basis.  And, in 2010, we contributed nearly $350 million to Employee retirement savings alone.  This all goes back to doing the right thing for our People, who in turn do the right thing for our Customers.

We are proud of our commitment to being a good citizen of the world.  We look forward to sharing the journey with you in our upcoming blog posts on Performance, People, and Planet, and we hope it will inspire you to read our 2010 Southwest Airlines One Report™, which, in an effort to conserve our natural resources, can only be found online at