Small signs of big change are everywhere you look at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s airports. And behind the new lanyards, the bright smiles, and the celebrations of jobs well done, a new way of serving our guests has emerged.
Driven by a freshly energized workforce and underpinned by WE SOAR – a robust airport employee engagement program – the airports’ revamped core service values now reflect an overarching promise to employees and customers alike: By delivering exceptional experiences together, we will soar to new heights and proudly become the global standard for seamless air travel.
To accomplish this, nearly 40,000 employees from dozens of airport businesses have participated in classroom exercises or viewed a training video since the start of 2019 to learn more about WE SOAR and its principles, which are captured with a few keywords and phrases:
- Exceed Expectations
- Seek to Connect
- Own It
The WE SOAR training program affirms that all employees, whether they interact directly with customers or work behind the scenes, can build relationships and bridge gaps to deliver world-class service.
In addition to receiving an introduction to the WE SOAR service values, more employees are now equipped with tools and technology to enable success. Airport Customer Experience Specialists, better known as ACES, carry tablets programmed with airport maps and real-time journey information so they can better address customers’ needs and provide support to their co-workers.
Beyond training and new equipment, The Port Authority is acknowledging excellence, recognizing and rewarding the workforce whose daily contributions turn service aspirations into a reality. Since September 2019, over 600 employees have been recognized via the online WE SOAR HIGHER nomination portal for providing outstanding customer service to guests from all over the globe. Using a simple web-based form, airport guests can recognize a service provider, and employees can nominate each other. Their stories appear on a virtual Wall of Excellence, like this one from December 15: “This young man gave very concise directions (we were confused and tired) and gave them with great cheer and lifted up our spirits.”
The Port Authority has committed to recognizing employees and volunteers monthly, quarterly, and annually across the airport system. Inspired individuals who put the WE SOAR principles into action will receive quarterly awards of $500; annual award recipients will receive $2,500.
It takes an extraordinary collaboration between the Port Authority, airport terminal operators, federal partners, and contracted service providers to operate our airports daily. So the next time you are walking through the airport, take a few minutes to visit WeSoarHigher.com and recognize one of the dedicated members of this special community.