Southwest’s Secret Sauce Can Be Your Secret Sauce Too
I’m a fan of Southwest Airlines. Why? Because they get it. They put their people first, so their people feel energized, engaged, and motivated to put their customers first. And it shows. In a recent issue of Gary’s Greeting in Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly sums it up by saying, “The true essence of Southwest is the heart of our people.”
Kelly goes on to say, “Southwest has always had a passion for serving others and it all starts with a commitment to our people – all 60,000 employees.” In their 48-year history, they have never had an involuntary furlough, or cut employee pay or benefits. Rumor has it that they receive 5,000 resumes for every open job position. Can your company boast these results?
I’m convinced that in order for a business to succeed long-term, it has to have both a great head and a great heart. So many businesses today operate without the latter, so it’s no surprise to me that employee retention at Southwest is at an all-time high. You can have the best business strategy in the world, but if you don’t have passionate people giving it their all executing on the strategy, you will fail.
WHAT CAN I DO? Ask yourself, “Is the true essence of my company the heart of our people?” If the answer is yes, you are on the right track. If the answer is no, an employee engagement journey – championed by senior leaders and managers (not HR) – may need to be your next step. I don’t care what role you play in your company, you have the power to leverage data to start the conversation with leaders. If Not You, Who?