Top Workplaces Highlight – Southwest Airlines

by Bob Helbig

Southwest Airlines Executive Explains Circle of Success

The perky attitude of Southwest Airlines employees is no accident. It’s part of the company’s commitment to a culture of success, one of its top executives explained in a keynote address at a recent Top Workplaces event in Houston.

Ginger Hardage, the airline’s vice president of culture and communications, spoke to 700 employees of Top Workplaces organizations during the November 5th event in downtown Houston. Her appearance there came just a month after the airline began international flights out of Houston’s Hobby Airport.

Hardage explained Southwest’s circle of success: the company focuses on inspiring happy employees, who strive to create happy customers, who make for happy shareholders, who invest in the company’s employees.

“We know that when you put employees first, the cycle continues and everybody wins,” she said.

The Houston Chronicle named 150 Top Workplaces for 2015 at the event based on feedback from nearly 79,000 employees surveyed by Workplace Dynamics. The Chronicle also handed out special awards in 15 categories for exemplary performance in specific areas, such as leadership, ethics, and communication as judged by employees.

Hardage, who has announced her retirement by year’s end after 25 years with the airline, says the positive attitude at the company has become infectious.

“Working for Southwest Airlines truly has been a dream job because of the people of this great airline and the values that drive the company’s customer-friendly decisions. The leadership team has grown and transformed the airline while staying true to its purpose.”