In every business the key to success is directly connected with its well developed strategies. The criteria that are used to select and recruit employees make part of the strategy that is aimed to success in business. Depending on the strategies of a certain business the criteria of selection and recruitment are developed accordingly. Consequently, the recruitment and selection criteria of a company that is customer centered will differ from that of employee centered and vice versa.
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Recruitment and Selection Procedure in the Lincoln Electric Company and Southwest Airlines
This study examines the recruitment and selection procedures in two major companies - the Lincoln Electric Company and Southwest Airlines. It explores the main reasons of their success touching upon issues concerning customers, unionism, employees and others. It also describes, evaluates and compares the two companies’ main strategies that influence the employees’ recruitment and selection procedure.
Lincoln Electrical Company
The Lincoln Electrical Company is known to be the best in the design, development and manufacture of arc-welding, products, plasma and of fuel cutting equipments and robotic arc-welding systems. It started its business in 1895 and till now has an immense success in its filed. The reason for this is its well developed strategy concerning the customers, employees and stockholders.
For the Lincoln Electrical Company the customer’s interests are in the first place. According to James Lincoln, the active head of the company in 1914 “customer’s interests should be the first goal of industry” as “ When any company has achieved success so that it is attractive as an investment, all money usually needed for expansion is supplied by the customer in retained earnings.”(Schuler, Jackson, Werner 2008, p.561)
In the Lincoln Electrical Company employee takes the second important place after the customer as only through the employee productivity and performance the customer interest can be satisfied, which is the main goal of the company. (p. 562).
According to James Lincoln the employee should be eager to be a part of a team. He should be honest towards his management, properly organized and have no desire to make profits for those who are inactive people. These are the criteria that are used to select and recruit employees in the Lincoln Electrical Company.
In order to increase the productivity and performance of employees and to meet their needs the Company created certain strategies:
The first concerns recruitment and selection procedures. The employee in the Lincoln Electrical Company is given an opportunity to be promoted. New job opportunities are advertised within the company and any employee willing can apply for it. Hiring from outside is possible only for entry-level positions. After application of employees personal interviews are made and selection is made on the bases of these interviews. (p. 564).
The second strategy of the Lincoln Electrical Company towards high productivity and performance of the employee is the strategy of employee evaluation. Every employee is evaluated by his/her supervisor twice a year with special cards that evaluate employee performance using different criteria or competencies such as leadership/ownership, decision making and judgment, quality and customer focus etc. The results of the evaluation influence bonus decisions. (p. 564).
Another strategy of the Lincoln Electrical Company for high productivity and performance is the opportunity of the employee to own stock and compensation. At Lincoln all productive workers and others are paid by piece rate. Established piece rates are not changed, but every year a portion of annual profits is given to employees as bonuses. Individual bonuses are proportional to merit rating scores. (p.565)
Perhaps, that is why each worker in the Lincoln Electrical Company “is proceeding busily and thoughtfully about the task at hand”. Most of them even don’t take coffee breaks. What about the supervisors, they are so busy with their planning and record keeping duties that have no time to pay attention to those under their supervision. (p. 563).
The Lincoln Electrical Company is against unionism and organization chart, instead an open-door policy is conducted in the company, which means that personnel are encouraged to take problems to the persons who are most capable to resolve them.
For me the above mentioned is not encouraging. It gives me a sense that the employees are robots the main task of which is to earn and again earn money. I wouldn’t bear working in such a company for a long period of time. This may be afforded for only a short period of time and only in case if I am really in need. The same cannot be said about the Southwest Airlines.
The Southwest is the cheapest airline in the US, but it is considered to be one of the major airlines because of its advantage of having outstanding level of customer service and a reputation for being on time. The key to this success is the strategy of understanding and appreciation of its people. (p. 544). That is why unlike the Lincoln Electrical Company the employees are in the first place in here.
People and culture are major concerns of Southwest. Southwest has a unique culture that embodies the company’s greatest strengths. It connects the fortunes of the company with the people who are responsible for it and retains the employees who may turn to Southwest’s competitors. (p.544). Southwest is very serious in selecting applicants, as it needs to find the right people to fit the unique culture of Southwest. (p. 556).
Usually there are many applications for each job opening in Southwest as it has a reputation of a great place to work. The human resource management that is called People Department at Southwest plays an important role in selection process as Southwest pays much attention to the selection process, they can spend the money up front on the selection process to find the right people as they believe that it becomes worthwhile.
Southwest’s customers are one of the main constituencies of the company. Customer satisfaction, which is possible through the successful management of customer expectation, is very important for the Company. This includes Customer service provided with friendliness, caring, warmth, and company spirit. (p. 549). That is why in Southwest great emphases are made on attitude. In Southwest they believe that they can train you on whatever you need to do, but they can’t change your inherent attitude. (p. 551). They look for the people who have a blend of energy, humor, team spirit, and self-confidence. These key character features are used to indicate how well the candidates will perform and fit in with its own unique culture. (p. 551).Candidates’ attitudes are assessed from the moment they are called to be interviewed.
The selection procedures in Southwest are made in the form of personality tests, interviews, or other assessments. The selection and placement decisions are made by a panel of line managements and specialized representatives from the People Department and also with the participation of present employees in the “spirit of true partnership”. (p. 552). .A great attention is also paid to the employee’s personality and values which is identified through personality test and interviews.
As employees are very important for the Southwest employee satisfaction is another important indicator of the company success. Taking into consideration the above mentioned Southwest supports the idea of unionism and maintains harmonious relations with the unions (p. 553), which one can not say about the Lincoln Electrical Company.
Like Lincoln Electrical Company there are a number of different variable pay programs in Southwest which include profit sharing and stock purchase plans for employee satisfaction.
Southwest also rewards their employees. The awards that are given to employees who perform high quality of work occur at the local and corporate level. The awards usually come with plaques, monetary payments, photos taken during the awards ceremony etc. This is quite the opposite of what happens in the Lincoln Electrical Company where under the word “awards” one understands bonus incentives.
Southwest is the company where I would work with great pleasure. It differs from the Lincoln Electrical Company first of all because of its strategy of being employee centered. It gives a feeling of a family. I especially like the way employees are treated. In Lincoln Electrical Company employees work for the money; in Southwest they work because they feel that they are a part of a big family, they don’t care only about money but also about the prosperity and welfare of their company and this attitude is praiseworthy.
As they say, “if you want to be treated well, treat the others well”.
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