More Than Just A Paycheck At Southwest

“Our vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

Southwest Airlines has long been praised for its terrific corporate culture and great leadership style. Founded by Herb Kelleher and led by current CEO Gary Kelly, the company believes that creating lasting relationships is of utmost importance. This includes relationships not with just its customers, but its employees as well. Southwest regards its 46,000 employees as its first customers simply because happy and friendly employees means great service and happy customers and shareholders.

So how does a company keep its employees happy? The first thing that often comes to mind is a bigger paycheck, but Southwest has a different – perhaps even more valuable – strategy.

Employees are rallied around a common objective – to further the company’s vision statement by instilling a sense of purpose. With tactics such as motivational storytelling and shout-outs, employees are recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Here is an internal corporate video filled with real stories that show how Southwest employees are motivated and how they live by the airline’s vision statement.

After 40 consecutive years of profitability under this vision, I think Southwest is at a great place right now.

What do you think of this model? Do the employees of other airlines feel a sense of purpose other than their paycheck? What can they learn from Southwest Airlines? Let us know below.

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