Insight from Tony Hsieh's book, "Delivering Happiness", the importance of recruiting, training, onboarding, and creating a vision for employees to be happy and inspired by their work so they define it as their calling versus just a job or career.
When you think of how you connect to the work you do, what would you call it? If you were to ask your employees, what do you think they would say?
I’ve been reading the book “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. It usually takes me a few weeks to get through a book because I’ll start reading it and then get distracted by the next interesting book – so I’m one of those people who has a stack of books next to my bed at night where I usually say I’ve read the first few chapters of something.
This one, I’m breezing through. It’s an easy read, and it’s easy to read because it’s inspiring on so many levels.
I’m also finding myself giggling out loud by some things he shares – sometimes out of surprise that it’s written in a book published by the CEO of one of the most success story companies that ever existed, but also because sometimes it’s just funny.
In his Platform for Growth chapter he starts referring to a Pipeline. When I think of a Pipeline in business I think of a “pipeline of prospects” in a sales capacity. He gives it a whole new meaning.
The way I interpret what they’ve created is a human development program that requires a mindset of longevity and belief in employees. But he goes beyond that.
Zappos is thinking about the opportunity for future potential employees long before someone submits a resume or contacts their HR department about potential job openings.
What have you been doing over the past 11 years?
What will you be doing or would like to be doing over the next 11 years?
That’s the time span that will create a potential path for success for future employees at Zappos.
If you’re a company who is thinking about your future as an organization – your strength, manpower, sustainability, growth and possibly legacy – then this model is one to pay attention to.
Zappos recruiters start creating relationships with freshman college students, offering summer internship programs throughout their school experience. By the time those students graduate they will have a good sense of what Zappos is about and likewise, Zappos will know whether or not those new grads will be a good fit to maintain their strong culture.
Zappos refers to this as part of their BCP Strategy for Brand, Culture and Pipeline.
Then once a new hire comes on board, their training program and onboarding process is incredibly thorough and well thought out, they cover areas of study and insight that I don’t think most colleges have and you would usually need to sign up for out of personal interest.
Courses on topics such as the “Science of Happiness” and “Delivering Happiness.” They also have one called “WOWing Through Tours.” The next time I’m in Vegas (which at this point hasn’t been for years but may plan it for just this reason) I will definitely take the time to visit their facility and take advantage of a tour.
When asked, what is your biggest asset? If you’re answer is your employees, (besides maybe a patented product or unique process that no other company has) it’s a nice answer and should be expected.
Although that might be true, he also points out the danger of seeing things this way since most likely you will lose an employee at some point.
What if your biggest asset was your recruiting process, or your training and onboarding program, or how you defined your pipeline?
If you’re still stuck on your employees being your greatest asset, than how would you want them to view their work: as a job, career, or calling?
As a company owner or manager, the environment you create before a new hire walks in the door may have an impact on who you attract, their attitude, level of performance, and how long they decide to stick around. As a CEO or manager, how do you see your work?