Recently I had lunch with Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos.com. If ever in Las Vegas take a break from gambling and the shows and go on a free tour of Zappos. Tony and his colleagues have spent the last several years creating the art of Zappos’… a work culture like nothing else you have ever seen or experienced. I’ve consulted to hundreds of companies in my career and never have I seen such an overtly distinct work environment. Beneath the feather boas, plastic ornaments, jungle like cubicle areas, and playful work environment lies... a dedicated workforce. Walking through the offices I thought, how fitting being in Las Vegas the city which prides itself on bright lights, the constant ping of slot machines and the hopes and dreams of tourists. The colorful fluff people used to decorate their cubicles, halls and conferencing areas overwhelmed me. Workers designed the quiet room, requested the popcorn machine and Rosie the coffee machine.
To me the place had a carnival atmosphere. What also amazed me were the people who said hi as you walked by, or blew horns, clearly proud of their company. Amidst the sensory overload people hard at work and having a good time.
Tony and his colleagues have continually asked people what’s important to them at work. How novel…they listened and incorporated their ideas. The result -the Zappos culture. Not sure this is for everyone but it is clear that when you pay attention to employee input you build an engaged workforce.