Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dynamic Duo

Regis and Kelly.

Donny and Marie.

Sonny and Cher.

Could the business world ready for the comedy and HR stylings of "Tyson and Janice"?

Early indications would point to an overwhelming "YES" after the WestJet tandem wowed a standing room audience at "Taking Flight", the first-ever Atlantic HR Conference held in Moncton, NB, earlier this month. Janice Webster and Tyson Matheson walked more than 300 delegates through a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at the WestJet success story - an internal branding saga that generates more than 1,200 unsolicited resumes a week while contributing to the bottom-line results of the world's 4-th most profitable airlines.

Janice is the "HR Superstar" while Tyson is the undisputed "Rock Star of People" and the chemistry between the two, on-stage and off, is undeniable. Webster and Matheson shared a vital message to help HR professionals and business execs understand "brand", but with a twist - the type of branding aimed internally, targeting a firms own employees, - who then reflect that brand (what WestJet is all about) when they interact with the airline's valued customers.

WestJet has nearly perfected this concept and we caught up with the "Terrific Twosome" afterwards (with help of our friends and facilities from TV) to learn more about how they create one of Canada's most admired corporate cultures.

So which came first, culture or brand?

According to Matheson, "Definitely culture. The culture of ownership at WestJet has been a key to the airline's internal and external branding, where front-line staff not only have a say, but are empowered to act as well. People here don't wait for things to happen. Good internal branding not only motivates employees but sends a consistently correct image of the firm to its clients. Customers can easily see through the ruse when a company's actions are different than its words - and just as importantly, employees can, too. Portraying our brand is everyone's job, not just the Marketing or HR Department".

Webster adds, "HR’s role is to create a positive and seamless employee experience. In other words, let’s make it easy for WestJetters to do business with us. Everything from recruitment to screening to interviewing, on-boarding, training and orientation should be one seamless piece where company interests are aligned with employee interests".

Just the naming conventions alone go a long way to driving home the spirit and essence of the West Jet brand. Executives are called “Big Shots”. Passengers are “Guests”. Policies are “Promises”. Supervisors are “Team Leaders”. Accounting is “Beanland”.

But what do you call a team like Tyson and Janice?

For those of you who caught their act at "Taking Flight" what was it about their performance that makes you beleive they have a shot at speaking stardom? Do you think this WestJet version of the "Dynamic Duo" needs to be "officially dubbed" with a deserving nickname of their own?

Any suggestions?

"I think there's a little bit of sizzling here. Honestly, I can feel it. The ions are flying back and forth" REGIS PHILBIN

p.s...As always, our thanks to Jeremy Demont and the hard-working crew at PGTV for helping make these video clips possible.

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