Nov 26, 2020 in Business

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What Makes Zappos the Best Place to Work and Why


Nowadays, getting a job at Zappos is a dream and a perfect opportunity for many people. It is one of the most popular retailers offering numerous positions to employees. In February 2009, Zappos debuted as a company ranked twenty-third according to the Fortune magazines list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. It was the highest position ever attained by newcomers. Annually, the company offers hundreds of new openings and gathers thousands applications for new positions. This paper seeks to understand why it is the best place to work and why Zappos employees love their job at the company.

Zappos History

In 1999, Nick Swinmurn founded the company and made this decision due to ordinary circumstances, namely, he could not find Airwalks at the nearest mall and decided to sell shoes online. He shared his idea with Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin. Initially, the former was rather skeptical about this idea, but when he found out that the U.S. footwear market comprised forty billion-dollar, he changed his mind. Both Hsieh and Lin invested two million dollars into a new business, and the company opened officially in June 1999. It was launched under the name ShopRite, but a few months later the name was changed into Zappos. Hsieh stated that he had the most fun with Zappos as it was the place where he loved to come (Jacobs, 2009). In 2000, its revenue was $1.6 million. In the following years, Zappos considerably increased its revenue, and by 2007, it was estimated to reach $840 million in gross sales. Afterwards, the company initially based in San Francisco moved to Henderson, Nevada.

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Company Hiring Process

The company's success is determined by its philosophy. CEO Tony Hsieh has established its vision: employees and customers should feel happy and like to come to work. The reason for this is not only because he is a nice person, but also because he cares about his employees and customers. Focus on happiness has generated many accolades for Zappos, but its approach to happiness in the workplace is quite different from visions of other similar businesses. First of all, Zappos hiring process differs from the one used by other companies because it meets different expectations. It has shown that the company is not for everyone. Those who are used to separating work and personal life will not pass an interview.

The Zappos HR team uses cartoony applications with wacky interview questions (Cheng, 2010). This method of collecting data helps the company to screen every individual for creativity and filter out those who cannot work as a team. Regardless of the position, every newcomer takes a four-week training course, learning the company's history, culture, and rules. Moreover, every person should receive two-week training in the call center to get to know customers. Finally, every potential worker must go through a one-week training program in the distribution department in Kentucky. During this training, the management should identify positive people and appoint them to proper positions. Finally, they are put in the environment where they can share positive thinking.

The secret of the Companys Success

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Most companies see its success in high profits. Zappos and its CEO and founder Tony Hsieh view its objectives differently. Kumler (2004) assumes that happiness takes the first place in Zappos business operations. Its success is gained due to an excellent customer service, free shipping, and 365-day return policy. The company's culture shapes its success and high profits. Its philosophy is targeted at the happiness of its employees and customers. Thus, employees receive free meals that are not something special, just a lite snack in the cafeteria, but all of them appreciate this advantage.

Compensation policies and practices also differentiate Zappos from other companies. It pays salaries below market rates. For example, an average worker earns $23.000 a year. Tony Hsieh who owns a significant chunk of Zappos shares takes a salary of $36.000 a year (Cheng, 2010). The company's employees are sure that the best thing in life is delivering quality. It is not about money. Although, Zappos employees understand the value of money, they do not work just for revenues. Hsieh introduced ethical norms in the workplace that are close to his nature. It looks like all employees have inherited the same ethical values. Thus, they are friendly, sincere, compassionate, respectful, and honest people. Customers realize all their personal and professional traits and feel happy to interact with them.

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All employees have a strong feeling of happiness in the workplace. They establish friendly relationships with each other and often spend time together outside work, including CEO Tony Hsieh. He is usually hanging out with ordinary coworkers. His philosophy is as follows: he wants his employees to wake up in the morning with a desire to go to a friendly environment, but not just to work. Customers who come to Zappos are always surprised of the atmosphere they face in the company's office. Coworkers look happy and always smile. Zappos customers find out that through interacting with employees they realize how happy they are, and in return, they feel happy too.

Unique Approach of Zappos to Its Employees and Customers

Jacobs (2009) argues that Zappos has a unique approach to its employees and customers. It encompasses a day-to-day behavior in the workplace. Hsieh has developed a special attitude to every single customer. For example, calls may last an hour, and employees communicate with customers as long as they need. For example, if the customer wants a pair of shoes that is not in the company's stock, Zappos workers are trained to look at competitors' sites to find what the customer wants. The company develops long-term relationships with that customer. Making the one happy is appreciated by employees and the management. Zappos employees go above and beyond customers' expectations. They do not view working for the company as a job, but rather as a lifestyle. Part of the latter is eliminating competitiveness among employees.

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Another important approach is personal growth. Remarkably, Zappo's working environment comprises diverse cultures. However, there are no misunderstandings among people, who belong to different races, genders, religions, or socioeconomic status. The company's philosophy does not give any opportunity to struggle or conflict with each other. Instead, the strategy empowers every employee to realize his or her dreams and aspirations. Zappos employees have an attitude to life different from the one in other companies. They are focused to live a happy and healthy life. In fact, they follow this principle in every-day activities. Cheng (2010) assumes that a positive attitude to life is very important for the persons health and well-being. It also improves the overall look at life. The company's employees try to find only positive aspects in life and communication. They share with others mostly their achievements and rarely concentrate on failures. They seem to know a very important secret that makes their life better and happier.


In conclusion, the research has proven that Zappos is a perfect place to work. The company attracts employees and customers by its positive attitude and the feeling of happiness. Moreover, perfectly professional and personal skills encourage workers to provide high-quality services. Both employees and CEO Tony Hsieh have created an atmosphere of understanding and trust that makes them happy. Zappos is a place where anyone can achieve professional goals and make fun. It is not a surprise that Zappos is on the list of the most successful companies in the industry. The company's success inspires its workers to contribute more to the well-being of Zappos. It is what makes the latter the best place to work.

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