The following blog post was co-written by summer 2018 Culture Services Interns Suman Atluri and Emily Tabor.
Southwest is known for its Culture. It’s often imitated, and never duplicated. Every Employee is responsible for promoting and preserving our Culture.
Did you know that we also have a Culture Services Department that is charged with championing a Culture through which every Employee knows they matter? As Interns on that Team, Emily and I focus specifically on large-scale Employee appreciation events that celebrate our Employees’ milestone anniversaries, Employees at a specific station, or Southwest Warriors who have gone above and beyond.
On July 18, we served as leads for the Houston Culture Blitz which was put on to celebrate our 2,000+ Employees in Houston. Our Culture Services Team and the Companywide Culture Committee host about a dozen of these events every year, at various locations across the Southwest System, to appreciate our hardworking Frontline Employees with food and fun. While every Culture Blitz is a great opportunity for Company Leaders to connect with Employees and recognize their hard work, Houston’s event was especially meaningful because of the Station’s amazing recovery efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey last year.
We had such a fun experience! Here’s a look into our day at the Houston Culture Blitz:
3:00 a.m.: And we’re off! We frantically call each other to make sure we’re both up, throw on our Southwest Culture T-shirts, grab some sunscreen, and drive to Southwest’s Headquarters in Dallas to meet the rest of the Team!
3:45 a.m.: After a quick plane ride, we arrived at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and conducted a briefing with all Volunteers. After storing our bags and meeting for a quick huddle, we’re ready! John, our Culture Blitz Program Director, breaks us into Teams of two to begin our Crew appreciations.
4:30 a.m.: We head to the first flights of the day out of Houston, and surprise Flight Attendants and Pilots at the gate with bags of popcorn and good wishes for their day ahead.
6:00 a.m.: Coffee break! And for some, cake pops for breakfast.
8:00 a.m.: We meet up with additional members from the Culture Team from Southwest’s Headquarters who are just arriving at the airport. We brief these Team Members and recruit them to help us with various events throughout the day.
9:30 a.m.: The morning shift is over, so we say goodbye to the Volunteer group that has been with us since 3:00 a.m. But, for the Culture Team, the day is just getting started. We head back to the ticketing counters where our second shift briefing is taking place.
10:30 a.m.: Set up for the main part of the day begins as we have three events from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. First, we surprise our Flight Attendants by tidying up the aircraft with hoky floor sweepers so they can relax before their next trip. Then, we surprise our Ramp Agents with food trucks, music, and games. And lastly, we host a similar gathering and celebration for our Houston Call Center.
12:00 p.m.: With our list of arriving flights in hand, we head out to the gates to surprise the Crew! As the doors to the aircraft open, the Flight Attendants’ smiling faces contagiously spread when they see us using the hoky floor sweepers to clean the aircraft.
3:00 p.m.: It’s lunch time! We head down to the Ramp party to grab some amazing gyros, hang out, and meet some of our Houston Cohearts! After lunch and a game of inflatable basketball, we head back upstairs.
5:00 p.m.: What a day! After 14 hours at the airport, we head back to the hotel, grab some dinner, and call it a night!
We absolutely loved celebrating our world-renowned Culture throughout our network. While this isn’t a typical day as a Southwest Intern, the Culture Blitz is a great example of some of the amazing projects our Interns are involved in during their internship.
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