Respect at Work

Very quick post from the Oakland Airport.  I am sitting waiting for my Soutwest flight to Phoenix.  I love Southwest, people seem genuinely to like to work at the airline as many scholars and observers have noted.  I think here of Jody Hoffer-Gittel’s book.  I am walking in the airport and stop to chat with a SW flight attendant.   I tell him that Southwest is my favorite airline and thank him for working there.  He says he loves to work at SW.  We then get to the nitty gritty.  Is the company really as great as it seems?I suggest that people seem to genuinely like to work for the airlines and that they really seem sincere in their customer service.  “Obviously, everyone puts on a performance when they come to work,” I offer,” but folks at Southwest seem to really enjoy themselves.”

“We do,” he responds, again in what seems a really sincere manner.”  They really try to do the right thing.  They really give us a voice and listen to us.  They respect are input and so I really wake up and want to come to work.”

We were both flying out in different directions.  But his comments say a lot about what it takes to make good “customer service,” and a good product.  Solicit and listen and respect.  Pretty simple really.  Recipe for everything, including patient safety.

  • Suzie Farthing

    Great post, Suzanne. I recently flew Southwest Airlines on a trip to Las Vegas. As I watched the boarding agents and fight attendants, I could not help but think about all that goes into keeping an airline running smoothly and without tragic incident. Your work has given me a fresh appreciation for the open communication and training that makes it all possible.
    Thanks for all that you have done to advocate for patient safety and the nursing profession.

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