How to make people care.

Many have written about this topic and the issue is not solved evidenced by an example I witnessed while traveling recently. Here's the short version: Flight was oversold in an airport full of people who had been delayed by weather, so there is a standby list. Gate agent continually begs people to give up their seat, so they can get down to the number. I'm not sure if anyone bit or not. Regardless, boarding goes on as normal.

An adult son of one of the standby passengers is on the plane. He calls Mom and says they are about to close the door and there are 5 seats available. Mom goes to gate agent saying, "Hey, please get me on that plane. My son on the plane says there are 5 open seats." Agent was about to close the door says, let me check. Turns out there were 6 seats available, so most of the stand by passengers got to go - thanks to the son.

I understand that in this situation there are MANY moving parts. Stress is huge for all involved. The airline wants to be 'on time.' However, I was struck by how little the airline staff seemed to care. They had 6 open seats on a plane leaving an airport PACKED with people and they didn't appear to be acting to fill them. Wow!

Again, I realize it is crazy for airline staff in situations like this, but what a perfect time to really care about the people standing there waiting to go - wherever they planned to go.

This situation caused a discussion among our traveling party about how to make people care. Of course, there are no quick fixes and even caring people can have a bad hour or two.

So what can you do to instill caring as part of your company culture? Here are some things to consider.

     1. If you have the chance, hire to this skill. Make it one of the skills you MUST have. Department doesn't matter.

     2. Make sure you model caring to your staff. Help people. Show compassion. Let them know this is who you are as a company.

     3. Make your expectations clear and give them permission to fix a problem. You might need limits, but keep them general.

     4. Reward employees who consider customer experience - before or during a problem.

Regardless of your industry, caring employees matter. Your company will thrive because of them while others wilt.

What are your favorite ways to make employees care?