We Missed You At CLxYYC Partners with WestJet Event

WestJet played host to the latest Culture Labx event and the room was buzzing with local change agents. From large corporations to tiny start-ups, attendees were present to connect and grow culture as a cornerstone of their business strategy.

At Culture Labx, we strive to say, “TGIM” (Thank Goodness it’s Monday!) and we love to ask people what gets them excited about Monday. Mark Porter, Executive Vice President of People and Culture at WestJet kicked us off by sharing his perspective of “TGIT” (Thank Goodness it’s Today). This, coming from an industry that operates 24-7, he felt was a much more appropriate acronym. We, at Culture Labx might just have to steal it!

Porter expanded by sharing how WestJet strives to create employee connection and inclusion. Focusing on a remarkable employee experience which is fun and translates to positive customer experiences on board ultimately starts with the people who you hire. It’s so important that they have gone as far to create a program around this concept called CAREE (Creating a Remarkable Employee Experience).

WestJet highlighted the importance of their “Welcome Aboard” program which introduces new employees to life as a WestJetter. The program tells the story of WestJet’s company history (where culture has been a core business strategy since the beginning) as well as the company’s core values and behaviours which set the tone from day one.

WestJet employees, “WestJetters”, are educated on the importance of guest engagement. WestJetters are encouraged to interact with guests whenever and wherever possible – this could be an executive going on a flight to serve guests or grabbing a pair of rubber gloves to help cabin crew sweep the plane before the next flight. Oh yeah… and a few jokes along the way!

Janeen Speer, Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development shared how they are leveraging recognition to attract and retain the best talent. By creating a Culture Champion Network with over 125 WestJetters that meet 3-4x a year they are able to get a pulse on what’s working and what’s not. One of the most appreciated takeaways that was shared was that WestJet is in midst of a culture audit as they realize that the culture that has gotten them to today may not get them to 2022.

Lastly, Stacey Rodgers, Organizational Development Specialist, shared how celebrating success has made for a stronger culture. WestJetters are encouraged to recognize each other using a High Five program powered by Globoforce to show WestJetters they are appreciated. Now, most WestJetters were invested in this idea, but the maintenance crew didn’t buy in. So the People Team created a focus group to find out what was going wrong. They learned that the maintenance crew didn’t want that type of recognition so a program specific to them was created. Interestingly enough, they found it most meaningful to have a 1on1 with their boss and it is still running strong today.

In summary, the event highlighted that what works for one company may not work for others. Using a WestJet inspired “flight plan” we took note of what other organizations are doing, considered our own and created a custom plan.

We hope to seeing you at our next event!

The Culture LabxYYC Team


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