6 Ways to Build Employee Engagement and Relationships in your Company

09/30/2013     

At Zappos we strive to develop quality relationships and engage team members.  Building strong relationships makes communication easier, and increases collaboration and productivity. In this article we share 6 ways we build relationships and engage employees at Zappos.

1.)  Coworker Bonus Program

Coworker Bonus ProgramHas a coworker gone above and beyond to help you get your work done, jumped your car when your battery died, or just been amazingly awesome?  What better way to recognize them with a little extra cash on their paycheck.  At Zappos, we offer a coworker bonus program that allows employees to award an extra $50 to a coworker each month for really WOWing their socks off.  

2.)  Grant-a-Wish Program

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play guitar, ride a motorcycle, or go skydiving?  Setting up a Grant-a-Wish program that allows employees to submit and grant wishes is a great way to build a team and family spirit in your company.   In addition to employees granting wishes, Zappos as a company grants wishes. One of the most inspiring wishes granted was for an employee who wanted to become an American citizen, but was unable to afford the citizenship program.  Zappos granted his wish and he went on to become a US citizen.

Zollars

3.)  Zappos $$$

At Zappos, our employees go crazy for “Zollars”, the currency of Zappos employees.  You have to earn your Zollars and they are used as a way to recognize employees for times when a co-worker or manager feels they’ve gone above and beyond.  Employees can spend their Zollars on Zappos branded swag such as sweatshirts, glasses, and sun shades or they can buy movie tickets, donate them for a charitable donation, or enter them into a raffle for bigger prizes.  Zollars are a great way to reward coworkers for a job well done.

4.)    Shadow Sessions

The Zappos family consists of several departments, the Customer Loyalty Team, Merchandising, Content, Technology, Human Resources, and Finance to  name a few.  A great way to build relationships across your company is to allow employees to “shadow” an employee for a few hours to gain an understanding of what they do on a day-to-day basis.  Not only does this allow employees to learn the ins and outs of the company, but build working relationships with people in other departments.

5.)  New Hire Scavenger Hunt

All employees at Zappos are required to go through our month-long new hire training.  At the end of the training they are assigned challenges to locate employees around the company.  For example, find someone with a Zappos shirt on and find out how long they have been at the company, or find who schedules training classes and take a picture with them, and find the longest tenured employee in the finance department.

6.)  Apprenticeships

At Zappos we pride ourselves in promoting and hiring within the company.  One way we encourage growth and learning is through our apprenticeship program.  Employees can apply to become a Z’apprentice (we put Z in front of everything) even in an area where they may not have previous experience/skills. It allows the employee to check out a new career path and a hiring manager to see if the employee has the right potential to fit the role and team. When a person is selected for a Z’apprenticeship, they have a 90-day tenure in the role.  After the 90 days, a mutual decision is made regarding whether or not the person is right for the position.  If they are, they become a full-time member of the team.  If they are not the right fit for the position, they are able to return to their previous position and department. 

Author: Mike Stith

Web guy for Zappos Insights team.

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