Learning from WestJet: Your Key, Your Employees
As business leaders, entrepreneurs and students of the ever-growing economy, what can we learn from WestJet?
WestJet was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures four times by Waterstone and ranked as the third-best employer in Canada by Aon Hewitt in 2011. WestJet believes their defining point is a culture of ownership that sets them apart from most airlines. They engage their community by having all non-executive WestJet employees (including pilots, flight attendants and maintenance) vote a member of their respective teams to represent them in discussions with executives.
Good managers know that happy employees are both loyal and productive employees. Those employees will also proudly represent the company to the public. Though employees can fine-tune their own work habits to improve job satisfaction, employers can also make changes to deliver job satisfaction.
Lessons from WestJet:
Give your employees a sense of control
Give employees more control over their own work structure:
- Offer alternative work schedules, flexible hours or partial telecommuting
- Encourage customizable workstations
- Personify accomplishment, not obligation
- Create employee-driven competitions and put them in control of their own success
Engage your employees
Schedule regular and interactive company meetings:
- Emphasize the company’s willingness to listen and learn from their greatest assets – their employees
- Involve employees in decision making meetings. Let them see their role in the bigger picture
- Make meetings shorter and more efficient by having a meeting with no chairs. People will be more likely to stick to the agenda when they have to stand for the entire meeting.
- Use conference calls before lunch or at the end of the day to reduce unnecessary conversation
Encourage employee socialization
Interactions with others give people a positive boost, even for introverts:
- Encourage office socialization such as volunteer programs
- Encourage office communication
- Celebrate holidays and birthdays
- Encourage employees to eat lunch together
The foundation of company success is respect for workers and the job they perform. Showing workers that they are being heard and putting an honest effort into compromising will often help to improve morale, even if management cannot meet all the demands of employees.