One of my favorite business books is Zappos.com’s Culture Book that is published annually. It’s written by Zappos employees who share, in their own words, what the company culture means to them.
I ask participants in my internal marketing workshops to consider if their organizations would be willing to solicit employee comments about their workplace culture, publish the results, AND THEN make them available to the public? The responses reflect how confident and proud managers are of their organizational culture.
Occasionally I encounter people who joke about companies, like Zappos, that are known for having a strong employer brand. Typical comments include:
- “Yeah, they’re the ones who put the ‘cult’ in culture!”
- “I wonder how much Kool-Aid the company trucks in?”
- “Where DO they find all those happy employees?!”
I find the folks who make these jokes to be cynical, even downright dismissive, as they struggle to comprehend an engaging place where employees actually enjoy going to work.
Yes, Virginia, there are such workplaces … and most of their employees appreciate how fortunate they are to be working in such organizations.
Just as important, these employees also know that an engaging workplace doesn’t ensure an idyllic one. Engaged employees accept that not every day will be perfect. As a Zappos employee acknowledged in the latest Culture Book:
“A lot of people might say that Zappos employees work in an unrealistic culture, where everyday frustrations don’t occur and cupcakes grow from rainbows in our break room. While I’ve yet to see the cup-cake-producing rainbow, I can say that we do have all of the same pet peeves as everyone else, but because of our Zappos Culture, we rise above it and overcome.”
[2010 Culture Book excerpt used with permission. © 2012 Zappos.com, Inc. or its affiliates.]