What’s the first thing you think of when I say, “Zappos?” Shoes? Fair enough. Okay, what’s the second thing? (Hint: it rhymes with “vulture”) Yes! It’s “culture!” Zappos has one of the best, most fun, positive and productive corporate cultures of any company in the world today. Now, for my next question: How did you find out about Zappos amazing company culture?
I fully expect an overwhelming number of you to say “video” — whether it be a video on the official Zappos web site, a repost of a repost on YouTube or Facebook, or as part of a news feature sometime in the past 6 years or so. At any rate, video played a big part in getting the word out about how cool their company culture is, which in turn created a certain perception of the company in the minds of its customers, potential customers, employees, prospective employees, and caused other businesses to take a long, hard look at their own company cultures to see if they could emulate Zappos and grab some of that magic for themselves. Easier said than done, to be sure.
Seeing as how your company is not Zappos, nor is it likely to become Zappos anytime soon, what is it about your own company culture that motivates your employees and keeps them coming back for more? How do you attract the best and the brightest talent? Is it free food, blue jean Fridays, workout facilities, or the genuine Ficus trees in the lobby? If the answer is “money” or “they’re just lucky to have a job in this economy,” please stop reading this post and hire a morale consultant fast, because… wow. You’ve got some serious problems with your people skills.
The good news is you don’t have to do even a third of what Zappos does to have a decent, positive corporate culture. Take the time to talk — actually TALK — to your employees. Get to know them through creative (not necessarily expensive) team building activities, and you’ll start to gain a sense of what they really think of you and your company. Sure, at first there might be hesitation and trepidation on the part of your employees for fear of getting written up, demoted or fired if they’re TOO honest, but if you’ve truly built your company on solid moral and ethical hiring and labor practices, your employees will have nothing to fear. And neither will you. Here’s a little something we threw together a couple of years ago here at QuantumDigital:
So, fix whatever needs fixing, and once you’re sure everyone is reasonably happy (I know there’s nothing much you can do for that one guy down in Storage B) it’s time to make a video!