Zappos Gets It!

As Gillian Welch sang in her 2001 song Everything is Free: “I never minded workin’ hard, it’s who I’m workin’ for…”.
There has been a ton of deserved recent press concerning the online shoe retailer Zappos. From extraordinary customer service to a firm commitment behind taking long-term approach to its business, the retailer seems to be making all the right moves.

Most impressive, though, seems to be their approach to recruiting and maintaining a dedicated and engaged workforce in a business (call-center-based online retailing) plagued with disengagement and high employee turnover. I recently read a story featured in Bill Taylor’s Game Changer Blog on Harvard Business Publishing’s Discussion Leader Online entitled “Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit and You Should Too”. One highlight on the piece was regarding Zappos‘ policy of paying new recruits who are uncertain whether working for the retailer for the amount of time worked/trained, plus a $1,000 bonus to quit. According to the article, if a new recruit is on the fence about whether the company is a good fit for them, they are likely to take the offer and leave sooner rather than later. This provides the company with a employee-friendly tool that allows them to “weed out” those recruits who do not appear to possess the strong sense of commitment actively sought in a long term Zappos employee.

For more on Zappos story, be sure to take a look at this article from the New York Times and Taylor’s follow-up blog entry on the subject found here.

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