Category Archives: Employee Engagement

Zappos knows how to throw a party

Chris Brown and Tony Hsieh at the Zappos Party

Chris Brown and Tony Hsieh at the Zappos Party

I had the good fortune of attending the Zappos Vendor party last week in Vegas. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of the Zappos staff and Zappos Insights customers, plus had the chance to talk with Tony Hsieh the CEO.

Tony was about to embark on an extended book tour to spread the word about connecting delighting customers, happiness and profits in business.

From speaking with many of the Zappos staff it is clear it really is a fun place to work, everyone I spoke with had great things to say and a number felt like it was the job and company they had been waiting to get for their whole lives!

So what is really different about Zappos?

Clearly it is their culture, it is a culture that has been crafted and developed carefully overtime but it is not about Tony Hsieh. Yes as CEO he has significant influence and respect but the culture has been developed and owned by all of the staff that work there. It is not a culture that is imposed but guided by core values that provide direction to policies, processes and how the organization treats people. It is maintained by the energy of the people that work there plus rigorous hiring processes that ensure that new people are a cultural fit and reinforce what Zappos represents.

Zappos has developed a “Wow” culture that inspires employees, delights customers & rewards shareholders….. which happens to be the vision of our company….

To improve customer experience take a look inside your corporate culture

A Customer Experience Culture

There is a increasing recognition of the fact that a customer’s experience with your company plays a significant role in customer satisfaction, retention and profitability.

So where do you start with a customer experience initiative?

In our experience the best place to start is by defining a vision and goal for a customer experience initiative that inspires people to want to get involved. This creates a reason for change, a compelling vision of the new customer experience that will be created and delivered by the company over time.

While customer experience is a process that can be mapped, refined and improved over time what is important in the beginning is to capture the hearts and minds of the people that are going to have to deliver the new experience. Why should they do things differently, how will changes in their behavior benefit them?

A good place to start an initiative is to gain a sense of the organization’s current culture as it relates to customer experience. Is the company’s culture already customer focused? Meaning there will be less resistance to changes that will clearly benefit customers. Or is the culture an internally focused one that sees the customer as a necessary evil?

The Market Responsiveness Index and the Customer Responsiveness Index are two tools we use to gain a sense of where the culture lies against a benchmark. This provides a great rallying point for company’s to self diagnose just how big a journey they need to undertake.

Why employee engagement is no longer enough

One our team members (Hjalte, our California-based Engagement Manager) and I have been doing a bit of research on Employee Engagement recently and found some interesting discussion from professionals on various linked in networks (see links below to follow).

It seems to me that employ engagement, although very popular with large businesses is not longer enough.

The downturn has business leaders re-examining every initiative to determine their value to driving achievement of their business goals and these employee surveys are no different.

The discussions center on employee engagement i.e. measuring the level of commitment employees have to the organization. Higher levels of commitment result in capturing discretionary effort therefore driving better productivity.

For me at least this poses the question isn’t it important to know where that discretionary effort is being directed?

Is it being directed at increased customer service? Improving customer experience? Creating better products and services that customers need? How well does the company do these important tasks?

High levels of engagement are important but we see them as a by-product of great alignment with the market. If employees really understand how they are making valuable differences to customers their engagement will increase. I believe people are motivated by using their unique skills to make a difference, obtain goals and making regular progress towards those goals.

If the purpose of business is to create value for customers then anything we do that aligns with this purpose will result in high levels of engagement. The key is gaining alignment between the behaviors in the business and customer needs.

Read more here:

The Employee Engagement Network

LinkedIn HR