How They Work: Zappos

Developing great company culture isn't all just fun and games. Here at Wistia, we've been working hard to create an environment that brings out the best in every member of our team. In order to keep improving our game, we've been visiting companies we respect to learn how they work and what makes their culture unique. We'll be sharing everything we learn though our favorite medium (video!) in an experiment we're calling How They Work.

This time around, we visited the offices of the venerable Zappos in Las Vegas, NV. Known for their fast shipping and great customer service, Zappos started out with a focus on shoes but has since expanded to sell much more than that. In addition to their excellent treatment of their customers, Zappos is also known for their exuberant company culture. Replace "work-life balance" or "work-life separation" with a new philosophy -- "work-life integration."

Company culture is Zappos' main business strategy and number one priority. When they are hiring, they try to figure out how the individual values align with the values of the company, because even if takes twice as long to fill a position, if you get the culture right, Zappos believes that most of the other stuff will be a natural by-product. Everyone does customer service first. Because they're hiring amazing people who don't necessarily have particular experience, they've structured the business so everyone can have not just professional but also personal advancement; they invest in the individual and make work really amazing so it's not "work" anymore.

Going into Zappos' offices was not unlike entering a business version of an amusement park; the culture bursts out of their office as so many people have fun working together on the same problems. It's the kind of place where everyone who walks by says 'hi'. Even with 1,300 employees and rapid growth, Zappos is able to retain their culture because it's up to everyone to scale the culture and grow with the company. Competitors may be able to copy Zappos' selection, but copying their culture is a totally different story -- it's something they've valued and cultivated from the very beginning. Follow @zappos on Twitter to keep up with what they're up to.

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