Got a List of Company Values? Be Like Zappos — Make Them ‘Committable’

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I spoke at and attended the Society of Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) annual conference last week in Las Vegas. The conference creates the opportunity for those of us who work to transform our human capital into financial capital to connect with other professionals, share our stories, attend classes and hear from high profile experts. One such expert was Tony Hsieh from Zappos.

Key to Zappos’ success is its commitment to providing consistently extraordinary service (even if it only sells shoes and fashions). Its commitment is to its customers and to the service “experience” – and to provide this requires a culture and employees that believe service excellence is the only standard.

Besides hiring employees well for each role, Zappos also hires based on a candidate’s ability to share and live the organizations core values. Zappos undertook a company-wide initiative to define what it calls its 10 “committable” core values – where “committable” means values that are embedded into everything the organization does. These are not a vague set of values created by senior management, posted on wall, handed out at employee on-boarding then readily forgotten. Instead, they are the 10 values that all employees live by – and through which the Zappos experience of “delivery happiness” is achieved.

Here are Zappos’ 10 “Committable” Core Values:

Values build culture, and culture feeds (or alienates) employees.  Core values of learning, thinking, growing, connecting, energizing, making a difference and focusing on adding value are infectious – we want these at work and at home. Zappos knows that by defining the core values that build a powerful employee-focused culture, employees feel connected, engaged, passionate and  interested – then they focus on performance. The result? Delivering happiness.

What do your core values say about you and do they inspire your employees the way the Zappos core values do?

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Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. follow him on Twitter.