Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Weird Are You?

That’s an odd question, isn’t it? Not if you’re applying for a job at Zappos.

I just read an interview in the NY Times with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on Zappos’ company culture. I wanna work there. They’ve formally defined their culture into 10 Core Values with which they use to hire and fire. What a neat concept. Most organizations talk about their culture in orientation (you know, that week long sleep-fest) and that’s about the last time you “experience” it.

Zappos holds
two sets of interviews for prospective employee’s – one with the hiring manager and team to determine knowledge and team fit. The other is with HR to determine culture fit. Cool.

One of their values is, “Create fun and a little weirdness.” So for this HR asks, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?”. One means you’re probably too straight-laced for them and 10 means you may be too psychotic. This is good stuff.

Because “everyone is a little weird”, Hsieh says, they want to “celebrate each person’s individuality, and want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment, whether it’s with co-workers or when talking with customers”. Wouldn’t it be great to work at a place where you can actually just be yourself, quirks and all?
Now check this out - each year they create a "culture book" in which all employee's are asked to write about what the Zappos culture means to them. The unedited employee reviews of the company are then "freely available to visitors and anybody who asks for a copy." If you've ever looked up employee company reviews on www.glassdoor.com (Zappos reviews rated no less than 4 on a 5 scale) you'd know that most companies would never make such books available.

Where most organizations let the culture happen, Zappos has taken the lead in defining it. Employee's need to
FIT INTO the culture, not transform it.

To read the whole fascinating interview with Tony Hsieh on nytimes.com, click on the title of this blog.

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