Southwest Airlines Implements Automation Amid Labor Shortages, Recruitment Challenges
In an effort to address a workforce shortage affecting the travel industry, Southwest Airlines has incorporated automation into its hiring process to create a more efficient and personalized approach to helping potential candidates find vacancies. employment opportunities.
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Southwest Director of Talent Acquisition Greg Muccio told FOX Business that while the airline has not had to lay off or lay off any of its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, it there were approximately 4,000 positions open as of Monday, including flight attendants and gate attendants.
“We see a lot of the same things as everyone else,” Muccio said. “The number of applications for summer positions or per hire is down significantly.”
According to Muccio, the airline averaged about 42 “qualified applicants” per hire, or applicants who meet basic job requirements, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. Now Muccio says that number has dropped to an average of around 14 qualified candidates per hire.
“My team has to work three times harder for the same result,” adds Muccio.
The average “speed of supply” for recruiters in the Southwest is currently around 42 days, up from around 30 days in 2019, which Muccio attributes to demand. He hopes that automating some heavy administrative tasks will reduce the time it takes to interview candidates and make a contingent offer to an average of around 21 days or less, depending on the position.
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To help the recruiting team, Southwest created an automated chatbot to answer 24/7 job-related questions from potential candidates using a software platform from Phenom People Inc. chatbot can also help recruiters stay in touch with and update candidates. on the status of their request.
“If you’re working, we have to make sure that you can interact with us, but when it’s convenient for you, not when it’s convenient for us,” Muccio said. “If there is a very simple question that you can get answered at midnight on a Saturday, because that is when you are on leave or whatever your situation is, I will not be given the staff to be able to answer that. But if you can go on and get answers to simple questions about whether or not this might be the right role, that’s huge. “
Muccio believes automation has complemented the work of recruiters in the Southwest, despite public concerns that automation will replace human workers.
“It frees up my team to do more high quality touching [recruiting] with our candidates. Don’t replace them, ”Muccio said.“ Most HR and most tech support groups, to staff the staff to handle it all, we just can’t do. You can’t go as fast as you need to or you can’t reach that many people and that just allows us to do those two things and focus my team on what I would call stronger action items. impact, including talking to people in more depth about themselves and their role rather than, you know, answering questions like “what are the hours” and “what is the starting salary?” “”
In 2020 alone, Southwest’s chatbot handled over a million interactions with potential candidates.
“If it was a member of my team who had to do it, the average time we would have spent with that person was between one and five minutes,” notes Muccio. “So if you break that down into hours, I think it’s a range of about 18,000 to 92,000 person-hours that we didn’t have to try to recruit staff for.”
However, Muccio acknowledges that he trusts his colleagues even more than any robot to handle the majority of candidate interactions, noting that they offer “incredible hospitality” and that they “have a tremendous sense of pride in hiring the right people for Southwest “.
Additional automated features that the airline’s recruiting team hopes to roll out in the coming months to further streamline the process include SMS notifications, an auto-schedule tool, and a “more robust” video interview tool. .
In addition to recruiting, Dallas Love Southwest Airport has also implemented self-service kiosks to speed up the check-in process for its flights, as well as an automated ‘digital orientation’, which can tell passengers where it is. their flight, what stage of the boarding process is in, and even how long it will take to walk to the boarding gate. Muccio stressed that Southwest employees are always available to help customers who need additional assistance.
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Looking ahead, Muccio believes automation will continue to become mainstream as the economy continues to reopen.
“I think all organizations will be forced to look at that to say, hey, what are the things that we might have been relying on that are really really heavy and administrative things … Is there any automation that I can you use to maintain the quality of service? ‘”warns Muccio.” I think you’ll see it through a lot of things, not just in recruiting. “
|LCV||SOUTH-WEST AIRLINES CO.||57.12||-0.16||-0.28%|
|AMZN||AMAZON.COM, INC.||3 383.13||-0.74||-0.02%|
McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski announced earlier this month that the fast food giant is testing an automated steering wheel control system at 10 Chicago locations. Meanwhile, Amazon recently unveiled four automated warehouse robots being developed to reduce workplace injuries, and on Tuesday opened its first Fresh location with a cashier-less payment feature.