Balancing the Needs of Employees and Customers

Empower your employees to act like owners.

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2019, Ginger Hardage, former senior vice president of culture and communications at Southwest Airlines, explains why leaders should balance the needs of their employees over the needs of their customers.

“A lot of companies start by focusing on their customers first,” says Ginger. “People [need] to rethink that and start by focusing on your employees first. Because if your employees have a level of information where they've been properly trained, they fit your organization, they're a good culture fit, and if you give them a level of information to act like owners, they're going to take care of your customers.”

Watch the video to hear how Ginger encouraged this idea at Southwest Airlines by communicating the right way to employees and customers.


TAKEAWAYS
- Consider the needs of employees before the needs of customers.
- When employees feel valued, customers feel it too.
- Make sure employees are included and considered in communication.

When we're trying to balance the needs between employees and customers. I would like to recommend that companies turn that on their head. A lot of companies start by focusing on their customers first. I'm wanting people to rethink that and start by focusing on your employees first. Because if your employees have a level of information where they've been properly trained, they fit your organization, they're a good culture fit, and if you give them a level of information to act like owners, they're going to take care of your customers. Your customers are going to be happy and that's going to serve your shareholders.

In communication, I think you always need to think about your audience. Primarily, many of the things we did at Southwest, we would be talking to our employees and taking it from the perspective of the employees. But, if the communication's going out to customers, first of all, make sure your employees know the communication's going out first. But to customers, to always talking about the benefit of what is going to be offered. What would they be interested in? What will they care about?

Too many organizations start with their customers first and the employees might not be well connected with what the company's trying to achieve. But, if you start first with your employees and making sure they know what all the company's objectives [are] and give them the level of support and training where they truly can serve your customers, you're going to be way ahead.
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Ginger Hardage

Ginger Hardage recently retired after 25 illustrious years as senior vice president of culture and communications at Southwest Airlines, where she led a team of 150 people responsible for building and sustaining the orga...

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