Even before starting her job at Southwest in August 2015, Ginisha James was so impressed by the Southwest People Department that she decided she wanted a career in human resources. “I wanted to go into human resources because of the experience I had with Southwest,” says Ginisha. “I loved the Recruiters. They made it feel like I was having coffee with my best friends—not like I was going through a tough interview process. Southwest really opened my eyes to how great the recruiting process can be.”
In December 2017, Ginisha earned her master’s degree in human resource management, with assistance from our tuition reimbursement program. “Southwest made the whole thing possible,” she says of her degree. “It was kind of tough paying for classes, so the tuition reimbursement was a big help.”
Ginisha’s family values higher education. Her father just completed his master’s degree, and her brother is in medical school. She knew she wanted to pursue her master’s degree, but money was tight, and she worried the financial burden would be too much. “Southwest offering tuition reimbursement helped me with that extra push, making it possible that I could actually do this,” she says.
Ginisha’s advanced degree has led her to another opportunity to continue to grow at Southwest—the Emerging Leader Development Program—which is a job rotational program with extensive Leadership training that helps Employees develop strong leadership skills. Upon successful completion of the program, Ginisha will be placed in a Leadership role in Ground Operations somewhere in our network, experience she hopes to eventually parlay into a career in human resources at Southwest.
Our tuition reimbursement program is just one of the many benefits, or WorkPerks, that we offer our Employees. Southwest believes in connecting People to what’s important in their lives, and WorkPerks give us a chance to connect our Employees with what’s important to them and allow them to pursue their goals. WorkPerks include health and wellness, travel privileges, Employee development and training, and generous retirement benefits, among others.
Southwest’s 2017 profitsharing award, our 44th consecutive, was the third highest in our history—$543 million. This award equaled approximately 11.3 percent of each eligible Employee’s eligible compensation, or the equivalent of more than five weeks’ pay. When combined with contributions of $476 million to 401(k) plans, this profitsharing award represents a total investment of more than $1 billion in Southwest Employees for 2017.
“Our Employees never lose focus on connecting our Customers to what’s important, even in a year of great triumphs and great challenges,” said Chairman of the Board and CEO Gary Kelly at the time of the profitsharing announcement. “They continue to be the primary reason Southwest stands apart from the rest, and it’s a pleasure to be able to reward their hard work and dedication to our success.”
Ginisha agrees. “I believe the profitsharing, the 401(k)—just everything that Southwest offers—is highly motivational. Southwest doesn’t have to do any of these things, but they do them anyway. And that gives me an extra push to want to learn with Southwest, grow in my career, and show what I’m capable of.
“And I’m pretty sure it gives others that extra push as well.”
To learn more about Southwest’s WorkPerks, click here.
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