Customer Success, Employee Engagement

17 Ways Southwest Created a Great Company Culture

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“Where do you work?” Many of our employees have shared with us that they love answering this question, because their response is typically met with something along the lines of, “Oh, really? I love Southwest!” That’s why honors like being named to Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list for the eighth consecutive year mean so much. It’s a recognition that’s truly a testament to the pride our employees take in their careers and this company.

You may have heard some of the awesome and quirky things about working at Southwest. Here are a few of our favorites:

1.) Work 12 months, get paid for 14

In addition to a 401(k) match, the company has given employees a ProfitSharing payment for 42 consecutive years. In 2015, the $620M contribution was the equivalent of 15.6% of each eligible employee’s eligible salary.

2.) Tickets for time

Have a non-profit organization you love? Give them double the help by volunteering your time and earning tickets for them while you’re at it! For every 40 hours of volunteerism, the benefiting nonprofit 501(C)3 receives one complimentary, roundtrip ticket on Southwest.

3.) “We need to talk about your flair”

In our “Office Space,” employees are encouraged to wear flair as a fun way to celebrate during holidays. 37 pieces not required.

4.) Free hugs!

The Southwest Culture is known for embracing employees … both literally and figuratively.

5.) Get rewarded for coming to work

Southwest Airlines Gratitude (SWAG) Points are awarded monthly for perfect attendance and in other fun ways, and can be used to purchase merchandise or services, from $100 Visa gift cards to iPads.

6.) Get pushy!

Our Rampers push back 120 to 130,000 lb. planes nearly 4,000 times a day.

7.) New friends and long-lost relatives

They’ll come out of the woodwork to get their hands on your Buddy Passes. #MarryMeFlyForFree

8.) All the peanuts and pretzels you can eat

No need to hoard our onboard snacks—you’ll have easy access to pretzels and peanuts. Mmmmmm … lightly salted.

9.) Celebrity spotting at the airport

10.) Free Beer Mondays

You read that right. The company hosts parties every Monday night to welcome new employees after orientation at headquarters. Themes and snacks vary, but free beer is constant.

11.) Dress up like your favorite superhero

The company loves to celebrate Halloween—costumes encouraged!

12.) Get paid to spend the night in Aruba

Southwest began international service in 2014, and pilots and flight attendants get paid to spend the night in awesome locations like Aruba, Mexico City, and Costa Rica!

13.) Go virtual

As part of recurrent pilot training, our Flight Ops Employees fly a $12–13 million virtual reality simulator through the toughest conditions.

14.) Eat dinner with the CEO

Company executives host dinners with frontline employees, just to hear what’s on their mind.

15.) Fly for Free

Employees, their parents, and their dependents have the privilege to fly standby for free. If there is a seat, it’s yours!

16.) Keep learning

We already think this is a great place to work, but we continue to add new benefits for our employees, like tuition reimbursement.

17.) Speak up

We’re not known for shyness, but Southwest Airlines University, or SWA U, offers professional development opportunities like PowerSpeak to help Employees overcome one of the most common fears—public speaking!

Want to learn more about building and maintaining a great company culture? Check out the Glassdoor Culture Codes of Best Places to Work eBook.

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