posted on juli 01, 2011 21:29
This famous Vegas rule can't possibly apply to the company Zappos. What I experienced during my training at Zappos exceeded by far my expectations: I made great connections, learned their inner working methods, I had fun and plenty of WOW moments and they even made me feel like a star! (See picture 1)
The magic (or WOW) started the instant I entered the Zappos building. I felt immediately overwhelmed by the employee's happy greetings and the fun decorations hanging everywhere. While I was in the hallway, I had a short glimpse at their library and what makes it so special: All books (mainly management and self development books) are made available to employees for free (even to visitors) and considered as an extra growth and learning opportunity. I personally took the book Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan as it has a large influence on the Zappos culture. I could not help noticing as well how serious Zappos is about its casual dress code: be aware if you wear a tie, hide it before they cut it out and hang it on their wall of fame! (See picture 2)
My second WOW moment occurred during the Zappos insights team’s introduction as their manager Robert greeted me personally, stating my first name, in front of all other participants and acknowledged indirectly he had viewed and remembered my video message sent to Tony Hsieh a few weeks before. (cf. my previous blog “why go to Vegas if you hate gambling?”). This was an awesome experience! The training day had not yet started and I already had been WOWed a few times!
Right after the introduction, I had a 1,5 hour Culture tour given by our guide Rocco, member of the Zappos Insights team. His official function and title is actually “culture magician”, another example of the creative environment present at Zappos. This was the most overwhelming experience as I walked through the alleys and discovered how the Zappos culture translates into fun team greetings, creative and weird desk decorations and of course WOW moments for customers and visitors (See the Monkey row video).
Every employee I came across looked very happy and interacted naturally with the training participants. It is difficult to imagine how they can be productive at the same time in this disruptive environment. Zappos offers 4 guided tours per day, 4 days a week to anyone interested to visit its head quarters. In the last 5 months, they had approx. 6000 visitors attending the tours.
Would you let visitors in and talk to all your employees? Zappos is all about transparency, it is their core competency and what differentiates them from competition. By being so open to their public, they build trust, inspire others and in the end gain free word of mouth advertising. Since Zapponians are aligned with the corporate culture and the 10 core values, it makes sense to let them be the ambassadors of the Zappos brand.
With such a level of transparency, it is easy to discover other Zappos secrets - the hard part is doing it yourself. As the training kicked in, I learned much more about the Zappos way worth sharing… so stay tuned!