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The impact of happiness on the bottom line

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 13-June 2013 issuezapposhappiness

Unconventional shoe retailer Zappos is getting a lot of attention for its business model and culture centred on the happiness of its workers. And they are reaping the rewards. In yearly workplace surveys from Fortune Magazine and the like. Zappos has been consistently rated as one of the top companies to work for. They have also excelled in the traditional business metrics. It took Zappos under 10 years to reach $1bn in annual revenue. They were acquired by Amazon in 2009 for a sizeable $1.2bn. There is a powerful lesson here. Like Zappos, by putting the happiness and well-being of your staff on centre stage, companies can build a happy culture that is healthy for profits and growth. Continue reading

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Should you pay people to quit?

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 14-March 2013 issue

zappos_tony-Lisa was in a group of new recruits going through an intensive week of immersion training at a new employer, learning everything about its strategy, culture and processes. Frank, the training class leader, left the room, and long-standing employees Joe and Cheryl came in to discuss the new group’s progress and offer support. Or so Lisa thought.

Instead, Joe and Cheryl kicked off a candid conversation with the newbies about their future at the company. They asked: “Does it seem like the right fit for you? Is this genuinely where you think you want to be?’” Lisa was slightly confused as to where this was heading. Then Cheryl made a very surprising offer to the entire class: “If this isn’t the place for you, we want to let you know about an early resignation offer that you can take advantage of. We’ll pay you for the time you’ve already spent training, plus a bonus of $4,000, to quit and leave the company right now.”

Lisa could not believe what she was hearing. Were they paying her to quit? Do companies really do this? Continue reading