A Culture Of Employee Engagement.
I argued that any organization can raise the bar on team and employee engagement to achieve significantly better business results by applying the following straight-forward, yet very powerful principles:
• Understand What Your Employees Think And Want
• Build A Trust Culture
• Practice Open Communication
• Provide Clear Career Paths
• Demonstrate Appreciation For Contributions
• Inspire Employees Beyond Turnover
• Communicate Your Employee Focus
There are various top companies which successfully follow these principles. One of them being online retailer Zappos. I´d like to present you today the Zappos employee engagement approach by sharing its 6 ways of how to build relationships and engage employees.
Coworker Bonus Program
At Zappos they offer a coworker bonus program that allows employees to award an extra $50 to a coworker each month for really WOWing their socks off (e.g. if one coworker helped another one getting her work done, etc.).
Zappos Grant-a-Wish program allows its employees to submit and grant wishes and is a great way to build a team and family spirit in the company (e.g. learning how to play guitar, ride a motorcycle, etc.). In addition to employees granting wishes, Zappos as a company grants wishes. One of the most inspiring wishes granted was for an employee who wanted to become an American citizen, but was unable to afford the citizenship program. Zappos granted his wish and he went on to become a US citizen.
The currency of Zappos employees is called „Zollars”. You have to earn your Zollars and they are used as a way to recognize employees for times when a co-worker or manager feels they’ve gone above and beyond. Employees can spend their Zollars on Zappos branded swag such as sweatshirts, glasses, and sun shades or they can buy movie tickets, donate them for a charitable donation, or enter them into a raffle for bigger prizes.
As a great way to build relationships across the company Zappos allows employees to “shadow” an employee for a few hours to gain an understanding of what they do on a day-to-day basis. Not only does this allow employees to learn the ins and outs of the company, but it also builds working relationships with people in other departments.
New Hire Scavenger Hunt
All employees at Zappos are required to go through a month-long new hire training. At the end of the training they are assigned challenges to locate employees around the company. For example, find someone with a Zappos shirt on and find out how long they have been at the company, or find who schedules training classes and take a picture with them, and find the longest tenured employee in the finance department.
Zappos prides itself in promoting and hiring within the company. One way the company encourages growth and learning is through its apprenticeship program. Employees can apply to become a Z’apprentice even in an area where they may not have previous experience/skills. It allows the employee to check out a new career path and a hiring manager to see if the employee has the right potential to fit the role and team. When a person is selected for a Z’apprenticeship, they have a 90-day tenure in the role. After the 90 days, a mutual decision is made regarding whether or not the person is right for the position. If they are, they become a full-time member of the team. If they are not the right fit for the position, they are able to return to their previous position and department.
Now, it´s Your turn: What do you think about Zappos´ way to engage with its employees? Which other companies do you admire for their employee focus and staff development initiatives? Which strategies and tactics are working for You? Any other thoughts?
Let us know in the comments here!