There’s always been a lot of buzz about Zappos, the billion dollar retail company run by Tony Hsieh and owned by Amazon. While their products aren’t the cheapest, they’ve won the hearts and minds of their customers over by developing an impressive customer service operation. They’ve also built a company culture that is world renowned and that many companies model themselves after. What I believe Zappos has done that might not have been thought about is that they have created the ultimate company for Gen Y workers.
Years ago, it was known that Zappos would paid employees who quit because they didn’t fit in their corporate culture. The bonus of $1,000 that went to these employees has actually saved the company money in the long term because they retain the right staff and have a higher level of productivity as a result. Gen Y’s want to work with people like them and Zappos has created a culture that weeds the wrong people out for them through monetary incentives.
The next thing Zappos did was end their traditional organization structure, which means no titles or managers. Most companies have VP’s, directors, managers, etc. Zappos replaced this with a Holacracy, a term that is gaining traction in corporate America, which is a self-governing system. Instead of a hierarchy, there will be four hundred circles, which allows employees to have a number of positions at the company. Gen Y’s want their voices to be heard and want to be on the same level as older workers and this system supports that.
Finally, Zappos has done away with it’s job board in hopes that it will attract candidates that truly care about the brand and don’t look at the company as a paycheck. The program is called “Zappos Insider”, where candidates get to learn about the company, the culture and talk with ambassadors, who can help them get jobs at the company. This makes complete sense for a 21st century company because Gen Y’s hate submitting resumes to traditional job boards. It’s tedious for them, and for everyone else, so this move allows them to work harder for a job and get the bigger payoff through showing interest.
These are three big moves by Zappos and I believe they will have a major long term payoff for the company. They are quickly becoming the best place for a Gen Y to work because they are growing, are innovative and are working hard to ensure that their employees have meaningful work and joy.
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