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Happiness at Work According to Zappos

We struggle to find communities that likewise support a passion for faith, ones that do it effectively and with a lot of energy and passion.

It was hard to put down Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. Tony is the wunderkind founder and CEO of Zappos, the online shoe company that was bought last year by Amazon.com for more than a billion dollars.

I first heard about Tony on the Catalyst podcast, and was impressed by how serious he is about company culture. Zappos has a policy that every new employee goes through weeks of training that includes the download on everything Zappos. The required reading includes a book by Zappos employees on their company culture. At the end of the initial training, a new employee is offered $2,000 to leave the company if they don’t feel as though they can play a well-integrated contributor to the culture.

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Delivering Happiness tells the story of Tony’s first forays into business, the mistakes he made, and the lessons he learned that ultimately led him to create a very different kind of company than most of us might experience today. Zappos takes their core values seriously, which in this case is to WOW their customers with great service, like free shipping and even surprise upgrades to expedited shipping. It’s especially interesting to see how their focus on customer service has led them to do things other companies won’t do, like not outsource or send their customer service department overseas, which many companies have done to increase profits. Instead, Zappos has found more profit by taking their customers seriously. They also forgo spending much money on advertising. Zappos figures that a happy customer is the best marketing anywhere.

What impresses me the most about Tony and Zappos is the emphasis on culture. We all strive for a deeper sense of faith and hope every day, but sometimes find it hard because we struggle to find communities that likewise support that passion for faith, ones that do it effectively and with a lot of energy and passion. While Zappos is no church, it has accomplished something with which many churches struggle: creating a sense of fun, fellowship, and excitement. It’s no wonder the folks at Catalyst noticed. We should take notice too.

Check out more about the world of Zappos in their blog

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