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Success Story: Southwest Airlines

Centralized program management improves participation and accountability

Challenge

At Southwest Airlines, gratitude is a way of life. They foster a unique team culture by linking every recognition and incentive program to their purpose, vision, values, and mission. This encouragement and rewarding the behaviors and performance helped Southwest Airlines become the World’s Most Flown, Most Loved, and Most Profitable Airline. However, there was no single destination for employee engagement activities, nor was there a common currency used to recognize employees.

Southwest needed to introduce a common currency for recognition and create a platform where all employee engagement activities, including recognition, could be tracked. In addition, they wanted to ensure consistency among their recognition programs, track expenditures, and have access to real-time reporting on all the things they do to appreciate their people.

95%+
of the organization has opted-in to participate in the platform

Solution

Inspirus customized a platform for Southwest Airlines that allowed them to centralize all recognition and incentive programs into one tool. The program gave teammates the freedom to redeem their SWAG (Southwest Airlines Gratitude) points for meaningful rewards in the SWAG Shop like guest passes, Rapid Rewards Points, dozens of gift cards, thousands of merchandise items, or tickets to concerts and events.

1 Billion
SWAG points were earned by Southwest Employees in one year

Results

Since launching the SWAG brand and recognition platform, many levels of the organization have seen positive changes, including:

  • More than 95% of all Southwest Airlines employees have opted-in to participate in SWAG
  • The number of programs within the tool  increased from 15 to 36 in two years
  • Opportunities for peer-to-peer recognition expanded dramatically with the introduction of an online tool, accessible 24/7
  • Monthly and quarterly dashboards gave internal departmental leaders the ability to monitor participation in recognition programs, hold leaders accountable for promoting a culture of recognition in their locations, and encourage friendly competition among peers
  • In one year, Employees at Southwest Airlines earned more than 1 billion SWAG Points, and turned their points into something meaningful to them
  • Of the SWAG points deposited to employees, 73% have been redeemed
Results-img

About Southwest Airlines

For over 50 years, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) has differentiated itself from other air carriers with exemplary customer service, delivered by more than 60,000 employees to more than 130 million customers annually. Southwest operates more than 4,000 flights a day with a network of 101 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. The carrier issued its Southwest® Promise in May 2020 to highlight new and round-the-clock efforts to support its customers' and employees' wellbeing and comfort. Among the changes are enhanced cleaning efforts at airports and onboard aircraft, facemask requirements for customers and employees, and capping the number of passengers on every flight to allow middle seats to remain open through at least September 30, 2020. Additional details about the Southwest Promise are available at Southwest.com/Promise.

Southwest coined Transfarency® to describe its purposed philosophy of treating Customers honestly and fairly, and low fares actually staying low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some carriers offer free checked bags on select routes or in qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply.

Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. Learn more about how the carrier gives back to communities across the world by visiting Southwest.com/citizenship.  

For more information please visit www.southwestairlines.com.

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