For too many companies, the commitment to their core values extends no further than a few sentences found on a plaque hanging in the lobby. But during her keynote address at BizConCLE 2017, Erica Javellana, the “Speaker of the House” at online retailer Zappos, believes culture is much too valuable to be a throw-away statement added to a HR manual.
In fact, she believes it’s possible for companies to leverage their culture to not only increase employee morale and retention, but to grow their business as well. How? Read on below for the list of the 10 core values at Zappos, why Javellana believes they’re important and how they are contributing to Zappos’ success.
Core value No. 1: Deliver a ‘WOW’ customer service experience
Javellana recalled a time when a Zappos customer service representative helped a customer find a hoodie she was looking for, even though it was on a competitor’s site. Going above and beyond like that is a great way to generate return customers and to spark word-of-mouth advertising for a company.
Core value No. 2: Embrace and drive change
Don’t be afraid to be innovative. Don’t embrace the status quo. Most companies fail because they just don’t adapt to changes in their marketplace quickly enough.
Core value No. 3: Create fun and a little weirdness
Relatedly, don’t be afraid to try new things internally, too. Get your people excited to come in to work and let them know they can show their whole self at work—that is, the side they show their friends and not just their coworkers. She added that a lot of companies spend time talking about creating a work/life balance. But if you make it just about life, your staff might be happier.
Core value No. 4: Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
Think outside the box. For instance, have you considered instituting an employee-recognition program where employees can recognize their coworkers for going the extra mile?
Core value No. 5: Pursue growth and learning
Most employees will leave a job because they feel there is nowhere left for them to grow. Promote a culture of continual learning and also get employees trained in other departments, so that is an opening becomes available elsewhere in your company, they could be a candidate.
Core value No. 6: Build open and honest relationships with communication
This is important because if someone trusts you, they are much more likely to react positively to the message you are trying to get across.
Core value No. 7: Build a positive team and family spirit
Zappos made this a core value because the leadership team recognized that employees who work in this kind of an environment are going to be more likely to help each other. This line of thinking can extend to the vendors a company works with, too.
Core value No. 8: Do more with less
Be efficient with your resources and focused on business-wide financials. How can your team be more resourceful?
Core value No. 9: Be passionate and determined
Is your heart in the role that you play with your company? Passion is infectious. People see it and they want what you have, which is how passion spreads. At the same time, negativity is infectious, too.
Core value No. 10: Be humble
How do you keep that negativity away? By hiring the right people. A good way Zappos has found to weed out the negative/not humble candidates is by telling potential new hires they will need to go through a month-long training course to answer the phones because all employees are expected to handle customer service roles during busy times. To this end, Zappos also gives their workers the option to quit, with severance, after four weeks if they find the job is not for them.