Somehow I missed seeing this one coming. Maybe I’m just not spending enough time at the mall, but apparently shoppers are fighting over outrageously gaudy Christmas sweaters.
So what does that have to do with corporate culture? Well, when it comes to Southwest Airlines it seems to fit right in. A recent story on National Public Radio delved into the seasonal sweater madness, and one of their examples was Southwest Flight Attendant Kerry Anderson. Ms. Anderson was in shopping mode, looking for just the right Christmas sweater.
As Anderson tells it, “I want to treat passengers to the tackiest sweater I can find, it’s got to be really gaudy!” What a perfect example of the culture at Southwest that has been built and nurtured over many years. A culture that focuses on giving customers an extraordinary experience.
I remember hearing, many years ago, the head of Human Resources at Southwest give a talk about their hiring strategy. It was made memorable by her comments about discrimination. She said that of course Southwest discriminates when they hire. Very purposely they seek employees who will embody their customer-centric culture that focuses on the customer experience.
I’m reminded of a personal experience I had as a passenger on Southwest. We were delayed, sitting at the gate waiting to taxi to take off. The flight attendant came on the intercom and told us that we were waiting for a food truck. She proceeded to ask, “So, I’m gonna leave it up to y’all. Do you want to wait for peanuts or do you want to go ahead and take off?” Needless to say, after a passenger vote, we were on our way to the runway and our destination, sans peanuts.
If I was looking for a job in the airline industry, Southwest would be high up on my list of employers to go after. But even if you’re not searching for an airline job, shouldn’t you check out the sweaters at the employers for whom you’re considering going to work?
To hear the NPR story go here: