Be More Like Southwest Airlines - Where All Employees Own The Culture

If you've flown Southwest Airlines you know they're tops in airline customer service, driven by a leadership style that creates a company-wide culture where all employees own that culture.

According to SWA Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly, as reported in the company's in-flight magazine, "every company has a culture, whether that culture is supportive or stifling, active or passive, fun or discouraging."

"One way we do culture differently is by making Southwest's culture everyone's responsibility. In fact, we ask everyone to 'own it,'" says Kelly.

Here are some of the ways that SWA keeps its winning culture in the forefront that you can also do to keep employees motivated and to drive great customer service:

1. Form a corporate culture committee and a local culture committee that organizes low-cost employee events throughout the year.

2. Include a section related to culture on each employee's annual performance appraisal. This goes for every employee in your company, including the entire management team.

3. Explain your company's culture on the first day of each new hire's orientation and training.

4. Foster a culture that encourages celebration.


  1. Eric, it sounds like most companies could take some lessons from SWA. We're learning about corporate culture at my workplace. The results we're seeing are encouraging. From putting together a softball league to doing a healthy walking session during lunch breaks, it has helped form a sense of community.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Both the league and the walking sessions are great ways to help maintain a healthy workforce, foster good communication among employees, and as you said, build a sense of community.


  2. Building in the Culture into business and human resources metrics like SWA does is essential. As so often mentioned, what gets measured, gets managed and I have yet to see a great culture in an organization I've worked for unless it's a part of performance criteria. Otherwise, it doesn't even come under the radar of most leaders unless they are truly stars.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader

How To Pump Up Employee Involvement