The Top 7 Highlights from My Zappos Tour

Sep 15 2010

After several gentle reminders from a fellow adviser on the Vegas Young Professionals (VYP) Advisory Council–one of the many very, very, very happy Zappos employees living in Southern Nevada–that it was an abomination that I’ve been back in Vegas almost a year without taking the Zappos tour, I got myself scheduled for one last week. From the moment one walks into Zappos, she knows she has stepped out of Sin City and into the closest thing resembling a workplace utopia. There are walls of books on leadership development, coaching, positive psychology, relationship building, marketing, and new media lining the walls of the lobby. Each guest gets a bottle of water and can help herself to popcorn from an old fashioned popcorn machine. And the happiest bunch of employees I’ve ever seen are chatting equal parts about work, current events, and last night’s happy hour.

The tour started about 5 minutes after it was scheduled to begin and it was, quite simply, a tour. My three tour buddies and I walked around the call center for just over an hour exploring each department while our guide regaled us with stories of why he loves Zappos and has given the last 6 years of his life to the company. Yet, despite its simplicity, the experience has stayed with me for the better part of this last week. Here’s what I most valued from my tour (in no particular order):

1. Learning about Zappos’ employees’ benefits package which includes FREE health care (and a range of alternative medical therapies), 8 paid vacation days, and oodles of opportunities for learning and development

2. The intensive compulsory training that each employee goes through prior to stepping foot into a cubicle or answering a phone (Employees are set up to succeed from Day 1!)

3. Zappos is a service organization that just happens to provide a product to its clients

4. The 10 Core Zappos Values

5. The Zappos Culture Book (co-written each year by the thousands of very happy and very engaged employees)

6. There’s a full-time, on staff life coach!

7. The oodles of goodies I left with! (It’s not that hard to figure out what I’m eluding to, but for those who like a surprise–like I do–let yourself stay in the dark and just get yourself to Vegas and signed up for a free tour!)

If you’ve gone on the Zappos tour, I’d love to hear what you most took away from your experience.

About the author

Alexia Vernon is a leadership and career expert who empowers professionals to build careers and companies that are successful, sustainable, and make a positive social impact. She is the author of Awaken Your CAREERpreneur: A Holistic Road Map to Climb from Your Calling to Your Career. Follow Alexia on Twitter: @AlexiaVernon

5 responses so far

  • Stevie Stevie says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this. Thanks so much for providing a summary of your experience. I just love it that the Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, is an example of success that can be achieved through following your passion and connecting with others.

  • @Stevie: Yes, go do it! Not only is it fascinating to learn about Tony’s professional trajectory (one fueled by equal parts common sense, commitment to service, and chutzpah) but also to see how the vision has translated to action.

  • Teri Teri says:

    Tony’s book is on my ‘to read’ list…will hopefully get around to it soon. Thank you so much for sharing! What an enlightening afternoon. Wonder how many employees in other companies know such a positive, empowering culture is achievable…what would it take for them to fight for it…

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