Zappos is an incredibly successful company with a clear vision and a dynamic corporate culture. Given the fact that most online retail startups did not last more than three years during the first internet era, its dramatic growth and subsequent sale to Amazon is truly unique.
Zappos has built a very positive culture, successfully identifying the type of personalities that best fit the corporate environment, and has focused relentlessly on customer service. There are three things banks can learn from Zappos.
Focus on Creativity
Employee engagement is high due to a focus on creativity, and a sense of family that includes free breakfast and lunch and celebrating the team’s unique personality traits. They make sure they hire people that are consistent with their goals and values of “being weird”. The company has successfully kept a coherent and motivated culture of employees. Item number seven of the company’s core values is to build a positive team and family spirit. Zappos identifies motivated individuals that not only are positive and loyal people but can also motivate others to be as well. Banks may not naturally attract people that embrace being weird, but an image of innovation can attract talent needed in a changing environment.
Embrace and Drive Change
Zappos’ core value of ‘Embrace and Drive Change’ is crucial because banks will continue to change as the retail market changes, and employees need to be equipped with cognitive skill sets that help them adapt, and not fear it. Zappos also is in an industry where technology is constantly changing, and the employees learn to adapt to it.
Training is Crucial
Training can influence this because if people feel equipped and empowered, then they can look at change as an opportunity to grow as individuals. The key threats are growth that requires strong management leadership in the area of technological change. A strong training and development program can increase the chance of success. Zappos had to grow its workforce from a general customer service function to a technology driven function, a major challenge to the banking industry.