The importance of corporate culture

IT Business

Read this article earlier today and it just blew my mind. It talks about the importance of corporate culture, values and giving your customers a reliable feeling when they work with your company:

So when Zappos hires new employees, it provides a four-week training period that immerses them in the company’s strategy, culture, and obsession with customers. People get paid their full salary during this period.

After a week or so in this immersive experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls “The Offer.” The fast-growing company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!

Why? Because if you’re willing to take the company up on the offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for. It’s hard to describe the level of energy in the Zappos culture—which means, by definition, it’s not for everybody. Zappos wants to learn if there’s a bad fit between what makes the organization tick and what makes individual employees tick—and it’s willing to pay to learn sooner rather than later. (About ten percent of new call-center employees take the money and run.)

We work in the exact opposite way – raise or fire – within 90 days, and I have to admit that the above does look better. My primary Office Space problem in growing OWN is that the experience is definitely not consistent because there is a personality tradeoff in hiring – I can hire someone social or someone technically savvy, but we generally don’t find both, so we have hordes of people that likely go home and work on their roadkill taxidermy projects for all I know. IT customer is not exactly the “people person” nurturing system, 99% of the time you’re dealing with some asshole who also gets kept in a dark, moist basement rarely exposed to sunlight much less people.

Wonder what it takes to raise socially presentable IT employees?

4 Responses to The importance of corporate culture

  1. Nick Adamson says:

    Have them work a normal retail sales job for a few months first (i.e. not Worst Buy, Computer store, or other geek related sales). I’ve seen it help some…

  2. Jules says:

    Well, I’d like to call myself a socially presentable IT employee.
    (And willing to take claims to the contrary, but I do get compliments from my clients alot).

    I’m not entirely sure what caused “me” –

    Rugby I think is the key.

    Or more realisation that IT is not a sexy subject – always remember that you are likely to kill social interaction dead…
    And not to ever be condesending or sarcastic to your customers / clients.

    I know I could train (or beat) someone else to be the same… but it also makes hiring a second person for the business very very hard because anyone who would work with me would have to be as equally socially presentable, but I dont have enough time to train or beat them at the moment.


  3. -e- says:

    Just saw a rerun report on 60 Minutes tonight on “the millenials”. zappos was one of the featured companies that “gets it” – that this new generation of workers needs to be coddled, cuddled, coached, and coaxed to perform. they need acknowledgement. they need to make their own schedules. they need to feel inspired. if you can’t provide that, they move on, because they’ve seen “corporate loyalty” destroy the spirits of their parents. It’s the new narcissistic generation, where “me and my lifestyle” comes before “me and my career and your company”. I think they’re less socially adept because they have electronic means to substitute for real face-to-face interaction. But, hands down, they’re much more technically savvy than an old dog like me, and I like to fancy myself as pretty savvy…

  4. Pingback: Vlad Mazek - Vladville Blog » Blog Archive » Disturbing: "The Millennials"

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