Empathy Video

7 Ways to Keep Employees Happy

posted on Aug 24 2015

Marriott Hotels and Southwest Airlines know that keeping their employees happy and motivated is the best way to keep their customers satisfied. Here's what you can learn from them.

The secret to employee retention doesn't have to be a mystery. A simple place to start is by emulating the practices used by organizations that have been very successful at keeping their staff.Two such organizations are Marriott Hotels and Southwest Airlines. Both companies have extremely low staff turnover, while still consistently posting profits. The underlying basis of their success is that they are able to provide for the basic emotional needs of their employees in a manner that creates lasting ties to the organization. Here's how they do it:

1. Employees Come First

Publicly, both organizations have gone counter to usual "customer first strategy" and state that their employees come first. They have discovered that the best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to have happy, motivated employees which will result in having people who have a strong vested interest in keeping customers satisfied. 

2. Hire for Attitude Over Technical Skills

Both organizations hire, not so much based on technical skills, but on attitudes, teamwork abilities and a natural inclination towards friendliness and service to others. While some may argue that not hiring for skills means more training, both Southwest and Marriott have found that employees that have the right attitude pick up skills faster and adapt quicker than those hired only for skills. As well it is much easier to train for skills than to try to change attitudes. 

3. Encourage New Employees to Feel Like They Fit In

The sooner new hires are made to feel part of the organization the better. Southwest takes great effort in making their newest employees feel special and a valued part of the organization from the moment that they are hired. No sitting down and reading the policy manual.Spending time with newcomers, buying them small gifts and taking them for lunch results in powerful bonds created between staff and the organization in addition to long-term friendships formed. 

4. Provide Room For Growth

Once hired, both organizations invest heavily in their employees, both in terms of workplace training and opportunities, ensuring that they never feel that they have reached a dead end and there is nowhere else to go in the organization. Providing ongoing training and development opportunities gives employees a sense that there are always opportunities for learning, advancement, and the organization has an interest in having them reach their potential.

6. Look After Your People in Good Times and Bad

Southwest’s corporate culture involves looking after your own. While the company believes in working hard, they also believe it is important to celebrate just as hard. Impromptu parties with executives dressing in funny outfits happen frequently. An employee that is having fun is a happy employee. The company believes that looking after their employees extends to the families as well. Family events are held regularly.

7. Go Beyond Salary and Benefits

Salary and benefits do play a part in employee retention as far as employees feeling that they are fairly compensated. Beyond that, however, the employer that can make their workplace a setting where employees can meet their needs for advancement, a feeling of being cared for and having fun will be able to retain staff regardless of the economic environment.


About Harvey

Harvey Deutschendorf is an Emotional Intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker. Emotional Intelligence transformed Harvey's life and he invites you to revitalize your business, team leaders and employees. Consider renewing your organization!

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The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.
— Anthony Robbins