The Truth About Southwest Airlines' Holiday Meltdown & Their Shocking Employee Memo

company culture team management team management tips Jan 25, 2023
How To Ruin Your Company Culture

If you've been watching the news lately or traveled for the holidays, you've probably heard about Southwest Airlines' catastrophic holiday meltdown, especially what happened with the controversial memo they sent to their employees on December 21, 2022.

There's a copy of the memo on Twitter, and you can also find the link in the 'Additional Resources' section below. The notice was sent out by Chris Johnson, Southwest's vice president of ground operations.

In it, Johnson mentioned an unusually high number of absences due to people calling in sick that day and that he was declaring an operational emergency to run the operation safely. Here's where things get messy.

The memo stated that any employee alleging illness would need to bring a doctor's note to excuse them, and they were not going to accept any telehealth or telemedicine. 

Here at Jumpstart, we believe that in an organization, you should be able to put boundaries in place, and you shouldn't be subjected to termination if such is the case. So when a company uses the term 'alleging illness,' that doesn't seem like a good message to send to your team. It already sounds like the company is not trusting you, and you can probably imagine that this isn't a great approach to creating a healthy company culture.

Southwest is known as the love airline, and they have a strong reputation for caring deeply about their passengers and employees. So, what the heck happened?

In this week's episode of 'While We Were Working,' Joey and Sommer share their thoughts on Southwest's infamous employee memo:

  • Why it could be detrimental to company culture.
  • What their biggest mistake was.
  • What small businesses can learn from this story.

Tune in to learn more!

Sommer and Joey also discuss the rise of HR scams and what small businesses can do to avoid them. As scammers multiply and develop more creative techniques to steal your sensitive data, it's crucial to know what common HR scams look like and be familiar with cybersecurity best practices. Fortunately for you, we've got you covered!

Key Takeaways

  • The truth about Southwest Airlines' holiday meltdown (00:00)
  • Southwest's internal turmoil (03:06)
  • Best practices on how to deal with illness (07:05)
  • The main problem with Southwest's approach (08:48)
  • What's next for the airline? (12:14)
  • HR scams small businesses should know about (15:24)
  • What scammers are doing to trick you (18:00)


Additional Resources

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Hosts: Joey Price & Sommer Ketron

This show is powered by Jumpstart: HR, LLC

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