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3 Employee Engagement Lessons for Business Leaders from Southwest Airlines

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'Without a heart, it's just a machine.'

Southwest Airlines recognises that actively engaging employees is fundamental to high performance. Here are three key things that Southwest CEO Gary Kelly does to ensure that Southwest employees feel valued, connected and motivated.

Published in: Leadership & Management

3 Employee Engagement Lessons for Business Leaders from Southwest Airlines

  1. 1. WITHOUT A HEART, IT’S JUST A MACHINE 3 EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT LESSONS FOR BUSINESS LEADERS FROM SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
  2. 2. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES RECOGNISES THAT ACTIVELY ENGAGING EMPLOYEES IS FUNDAMENTAL TO HIGH PERFORMANCE…
  3. 3. …AND ITS CEO PERSONALLY COMMITS TIME AND ENERGY TO ENSURING THAT THIS IS EFFECTIVE.
  4. 4. CEO GARY KELLY IS DESIGNATED EMPLOYEE CHAMPION.
  5. 5. ‘OUR PEOPLE ARE OUR SINGLE GREATEST STRENGTH AND MOST ENDURING LONG-TERM COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.’ GARY KELLY, CEO SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
  6. 6. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A BUSINESS LEADER TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT?
  7. 7. COMMUNICATE meaningfully
  8. 8. KELLY RECORDS A WEEKLY VIDEO MESSAGE TO STAFF. THIS INCLUDES A ‘SHOUT OUT’ TO EMPLOYEES WHO’VE GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY.
  9. 9. PARTICIPATE wholeheartedly
  10. 10. KELLY PARTICIPATES FULLY IN COMPANY EVENTS. TO MARK HALLOWEEN 2014, HE AND SEVERAL SOUTHWEST EXECUTIVES DRESSED UP AS THE BEATLES.
  11. 11. RELATE personally
  12. 12. AT SOUTHWEST, EXCECUTIVES MAKE AN EFFORT TO ENGAGE WITH THEIR STAFF ON A PERSONAL LEVEL – ‘WE KNOW A LOT ABOUT EACH OTHER.’ FOR EXAMPLE, EMPLOYEES’ BIRTHDAYS ARE MARKED ANNUALLY, WITH GESTURES THAT CHANGE EACH YEAR.
  13. 13. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES ISN’T AN END IN ITSELF.
  14. 14. IT’S THE PRIMARY MEANS BY WHICH THE COMPANY ACTIVATES HIGH PERFORMANCE AMONG ITS EMPLOYEES.
  15. 15. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES WORKS HARD TO CONTINUOUSLY ENGAGE EMPLOYEES IN NOVEL, MEANINGFUL WAYS.
  16. 16. BECAUSE ‘WITHOUT A HEART, IT’S JUST A MACHINE.’
  17. 17. FOR MORE HIGH PERFORMANCE CASE STUDIES, CLICK TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE:

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