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Delivering Happiness at Work

July 29, 2010

Me with Tony Hsieh: Image Courtesy of Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman

I laughed to myself as I headed to my breakfast presentation last Wednesday on Happiness at Work. That’s a topic that never would have attracted an audience when I started my career.  Happiness at work didn’t even enter our minds. It was all about making money, your mark and climbing the corporate ladder. How things have changed …and for the better.

Tony Hsieh talked to a packed audience about his experience at Zappos and his new book Delivering Happiness after selling his multimillion dollar business LinkExchange to Microsoft.  He shared how Zappos created an outstanding service company with a unique culture built around happiness.  Here’s in part how they accomplish this:

  • Hired for cultural fit. Each employee has two sets of interviews one is solely focused on cultural fit. They wanted to avoid people who didn’t mesh and could erode the culture over time.

  • Everyone gets the same training and spends 2 weeks answering phones. They want to ensure that everyone understands, experiences, and behaves in line with the commitment to service
  • Employees who finish the training program are offered $2,000 to leave the company. They want employees who believe in the future of the company. Also they find that the percentage who don’t take it return more engaged.

  • Employees contribute to a Culture Book. Employees have the opportunity to write about what the culture means to them  They can write anything, the good, bad and the ugly, because only spelling and grammar are edited.

  • Teach employees how to Tweet. This is another way that Zappos builds culture.

Tony talked about many other ways (e.g. commitment to core values, commit to a higher purpose) that Zappos delivers happiness to their employees and outstanding service to their customers.  However, his book Delivering Happiness is worth reading to find out a wonderful way of working where happiness is the norm.

I only wish this concept was around when I started my career so I could have been happier sooner.

Thanks to Emmanuel Lopez for taking the picture.

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