Developing Our People

American Airlines Employee

Developing Our People

At American, we see our global competitiveness as a function of our agility, tenacity and ingenuity as an organization. From that perspective, we think of employee development as an opportunity to invest in the kinds of qualities that will lead our company to success.

In an effort to retain top talent and a diverse, dedicated workforce, we provide our employees with a range of benefits, both tangible and intangible. Our offerings begin with competitive, direct compensation and benefits packages, profit-sharing and performance incentives, and a range of retirement options. But that's just the beginning. The true value that we bring to our workforce comes in the way of world-class training and skill development — throughout all of our operations.

Our Approach To Training And Talent Management

Our industry is unique in that employees must be proficient in a broad range of technical and non-technical disciplines. To provide the most comprehensive, hands-on skill development environment, we consolidate much of our training near our headquarters and primary airport hub in Fort Worth, Texas. Here our employees can complete FAA-required classroom instruction at our FlagShip University and Flight Academy training centers, and experience our operations in action at nearby airports and maintenance facilities.

Beyond basic training requirements, we offer employees many opportunities to develop desired skill sets and advance their careers toward strategic objectives. Our Performance Development Process is one such mechanism, providing employees with formal career guidance, and helping to ensure that performance reviews are conducted systematically, using objective criteria. In 2011, the Performance Development Process performance reviews applied to 100 percent of active management and most support staff.

Focus On Leadership Development

Cultivating effective leadership throughout our company is a top priority at American. We provide skills-development programs to help new and existing managers at many levels of seniority to identify, build and hone their leadership competencies. Some of these programs include:

  • Frontline Leader: For leaders who are new to the management team, or wish to refresh their abilities, Frontline Leader classes help build foundational skills based upon the essential components of human resource management. Training on effective communication, diversity issues, coaching and counseling are among the core features that prepare our managers for long-term success.
  • Making the Transition: For newly appointed mid-level managers, Making the Transition is designed as a forum for the exchange of ideas and management techniques that have been effective in driving performance at American. The program comprises an annual series of two-day workshops, allowing participants to share their experiences and progress over time.
  • Leading Leaders, Leading Others, and LIFT: A core component of our leadership training is the development of team engagement competencies. Managers at every level of seniority must understand how to best utilize employees' diverse skills and synergies, and cooperate with fellow managers to drive efficiency and business performance. This process requires a great degree of introspection for leaders to assess their personal management tendencies and consider style adjustments that may be beneficial.

    To this end, we offer three programs — Leading Leaders (for Managing Directors and above), Leading Others (for Managers and above) and Leadership: Improving the Future Together (LIFT) (for management-level Airport Services personnel). These programs are structured as intensive two-day workshops that provide a focus on how leaders see themselves versus how others see them.

We have seen an overwhelmingly positive response to our leadership development programs. The majority of participants in training sessions rated their learning experience as either "Very Good," or "Excellent." Additionally, American Airlines has been ranked by Leadership Excellence Magazine as one of the 20 best companies for Leadership Development Programs in large corporations — ranking #18 out of more than 1,000 companies evaluated.

Excellence From Within

At American, employees are encouraged to take ownership of their job functions and share their expertise to help improve our customer satisfaction and business success. Volunteer-led Joint Leadership Teams (JLTs) take action on a number of local issues that are important to our customers and our employees. Employees from each workgroup at an airport are invited and encouraged to attend JLT meetings and participate in efforts to solve local problems.

Employees are also encouraged to participate in company-sponsored Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that bring together employees with common interests and affinities. These groups are formed to facilitate expressions of identity and advocacy, and to provide opportunities for professional development, community involvement and business contribution. Close to 5,000 employees are regularly involved in at least one of the 17 employee-led ERGs that exist at American, adding depth and richness to the employee experience at our company.