Guarding Your Company Culture

Guarding Your Company Culture

Ever heard of Zappos? You know, the really fun shoe company that wins all the awards for work environment and customer service. Did you know they pay new hires $4,000 to leave after the first week of on-the-job training. 4,000 genuine, US dollars.

Why? Because they want the best fit for their company culture, they're willing to help you out of the company. Their goal is simple, cultivate the best culture in the world.

Does anyone take them up on it? About 2-3% of trainees each year. But think about it, either they pay you $4k now to leave, or they have to pay you benefits, salary, employee tax and costs, severance, and even unemployment packages. Then, if you’re not a good fit, think about the costs associated with the intangibles of destroying their tightly guarded culture. $4,000 is a small price to pay in the grand scope of things.

Shouldn’t this apply to hiring processes in Zimbabwe? We've heard of countless stories where companies can’t fire someone even if that person doesn't come to work regularly. Recently, we heard a story of an employee showing up on the 5th day of work for just an hour, then taking a nap at their desk. And the company wasn't legally empowered to dismiss that employee.

So theoretically an employee could work from 3pm to 4pm on a Friday afternoon, once a week, and you couldn’t release them from their post. How asinine!

Take Zappos’ approach. They say, "before we fully hire you, we’ll actually pay you not to work for us. If you take the cash, then you definitely didn’t want the job in the first place and you wouldn’t be a good fit for us."

The lesson: hire the best and keep away from the rest.

How are you guarding your company culture?

[For those with fast internet, you can watch the interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on the web series Foundations here.]

(photo via hj lee)