If You Don’t Like It, There’s the Door: Shaping a Company Culture & Brand With Beliefs

May 19, 2015

We’re not shy about our beliefs. In fact, we’re sometimes a little obnoxious about it. We have a crew full of pirates that’ll give you an earful about our company culture if you give them the chance. It’s important that we hire people who like our particular brand of loud and snarky, ‘cause if they don’t, they’re going to be annoyed, bored and generally misunderstood.

Because of this we have a particular way of screening our new hires—like ads that separate the just-okay candidates from the really freaking great ones who make pirate resumes and borderline inappropriate jokes in their cover letters. We love this stuff, and our ads facilitate the best people for our culture. The cream always rises to the top, if you will. There are ways to produce a consistent culture without training a new employee. After all, it’s always better to hire someone who gets you right off the bat. Someone who understands what the company is all about and what it stands for before you even start paying them. Our theory is, if you lay out a particular scent of honey, the right bees will come running (flying?) to the hive.

[bctt tweet=”Hire someone who understands what the company is all about and what it stands for.”]

Zappos LogoZappos CEO (and general everyday badass) Tony Hsieh has an unparalleled approach when it comes to this kind of an idea. Every CEO on the planet could, and should, take a page out of his book. (No seriously, take all the pages out of his book—it’s amazing.) Zappos has long since been revered by the pirates for their new hire policy. Basically, if you don’t like your job within two months of starting, take a $2,000 check—no questions asked—and head to the nearest exit. This screening process is so successful because it quickly removes all the employees that are there for the wrong reasons and ultimately saves the company time, money and pain in the long run.

Just want to make a buck? Here’s a free stack of cash and the classifieds.

Not liking the whole spectacular customer service thing? Later! We’ve got a pack of people who live and breathe this stuff and we don’t need you around.

It may seem a little harsh, but Zappos believes so deeply in their company culture they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is to maintain an untainted, thriving place to work. Their employees and company are unquestionably better for it. Just call their customer service team—I guarantee an actual-real-life person will answer the phone, they’ll be genuinely happy to help you, and you’ll probably hang up with a coupon code and a new best friend. 

And they just keep rocking. Last week, Zappos offered three months severance to any and all employees unwilling to adapt to the companies’ new management structure (or lack thereof). While it’s a truly unique approach to structuring a company, that’s not why were praising Hsieh. We love him because time and time again, he stands up for what he believes is best for his company, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to back it up.

This kind of a culture works both ways—it fosters internal cohesiveness, as well as sets a tone for the outside world. Thus the basis for my writing this tribute and our wonderful review on our Maximizing Opportunity Podcast about Clothes. Without a shadow of a doubt, if I need new shoes, the FIRST place I look is Zappos and it’s because I’ve been treated so well by them over the years. They have me as a lifetime customer because I also believe what they believe and I relate to them and how they do business.

It’s pretty clear, they want the shoe to fit exactly right at Zappos (see what I did there?). They want a particular breed of service, and they know what it takes to get there. As our commonly referred to buddy Mr. Jobs said, they want pirates, not peons.

So, hats off Mr. Hsieh, we like your style.

Learn more about beliefs in:

Orange – Lesson 1: Communicating Beliefs in Business

[x_author title=”Who Wrote This Masterpiece?”]


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