As you’ve probably heard, Zappos was recently acquired by Amazon. Prior to this announcement, Zappos had already made quite a name for itself, consistently being featured in well-known publications (from Fortune and Entrepreneur to Inc.,
just to name a few) for its outstanding culture and focus on the customer experience.
How will the Amazon acquisition affect what has made Zappos so successful?
If Zappos Ceo Tony Hsieh’s e-mail to employees is any indication, it won’t change
a thing. The CEO e-mail is a huge employee communication touchpoint, one that can
easily be strategic, compelling, and effective or fall flat, hurt the work culture,
and diminish employee engagement.
What makes Tony Hsieh’s e-mail so great? Well there are a few things I will call out
1. He gets right to the point. Employees are probably wondering/worrying about what
the Amazon deal will mean to them and their current job. One of the first things Mr.
Hsieh writes in the e-mail is, “We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have
always run Zappos.”
2. He documents the benefits to the company and employees, first in a concise bulleted
list, and more extensively later in the email.
3. He anticipates and addresses employee’s questions, such as “Will I still have a
job?”; “Will the Zappos culture change?”; and whether or not the leadership will remain
4. He ties the decision and reasons behind it back to their core values and emphasizes
that the employees are the true driver of the brand and work culture.
This is just a summary of what makes the e-mail successful. If you are interested
in reading more, the full text can be found here: http://blogs.zappos.com/ceoletter.
Tony Hsieh understands what it takes to build a strong culture, and it’s no surprise
that Zappos has been so successful.
If your company was going through a similar change tomorrow, how would you communicate
to your employees?