Peter Drucker once said ‘if you ever really want to learn how to be a manager, go with volunteers”. Working with volunteers you quickly realize that they aren’t motivated by the money. Essentially the best way to manage volunteers is to set the path open for them and get out of the way. The most culture driven companies today tend to have some of the greatest success stories for employee engagement. And not surprisingly, the all mighty pay cheque isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays people are far more motivated by culture driven organizations where they truly feel a part of the success. Being a part of something greater than just the bottom line tends to win every time. Furthermore, as the economy continues to recover, it is even more clear that salary is really not even on most employee’s top 5 reasons for staying with a company. Employees at all levels that participate in bringing forward ideas and being a part of charting the course of their company’s cultural quirks and styles set a strong course for team spirit and unity. Why go anywhere else when indeed it truly feels like your second home?
One of my all time favourite companies for nailing corporate culture so well is Zappos. Zappos has an original onboarding style that is almost counter-intuitive. As a way of ensuring employee buy in, they train new hires for a month and at the end of that first month they offer the new employee $3000 to leave! And if they were ever to leave and change their mind in the future they offer $4000 for their departure . Zappos has an incredible track record for employee retention. They’ve even gone so far as publishing a yearly corporate culture book comprised of unedited submissions from Zappos staff. And this book is 500 pages! Zappos is so keen on sharing the magic that they will send you a free copy of their book anywhere in the world!
Zappos stands apart because they actually LIVE their core values. It is a part of what they are and what they do – every day.
What are Zappos’ core values?
- Deliver WOW through service
- Embrace and drive change
- Create fun and a little weirdness
- Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
- Pursue growth and learning
- Build open and honest relationships with communication
- Build a positive team and family spirit
- Do more with less
- Be passionate and determined
- Be humble
Zappos is so inspiring. I only hope that companies who have not yet put as much focus on their culture will feel the urge to give themselves an inside look as to what can truly make them a great place to work. So go out and become your own version of a Zappoian!