I recently visited Zappos and enjoyed a day of fun & festivities. I talked to employees, I ate candy, and I was given some Zappos swag. It was a fun day in the desert, and I really love the idea of working for a different kind of company — one that’s fun.
Some of the other HR pros on the tour asked the management team about the cost of employee ‘entitlement programs’, employee benefit programs, and the pressure of meeting the financial demands of your private investors.
There was an assumption from the other HR pros that you can’t spend money on employees and operate a financially savvy corporation. You know what? I totally dislike those stodgy, stuck-in-the-mud Human Resources professionals who feel that you can’t invest in your employees and make a profit. That kind of thinking represents an outdated framework of management versus labor.
We’re all labor, aren’t we?
That being said, I was sad to read this.
Today has been a tough, emotional day for everyone at Zappos. We made the hard choice of laying off about 8% of our employees. The layoffs will affect almost every single department at Zappos. In addition, we are also looking at closing some of our brick and mortar outlet stores in Nevada and Kentucky.
Now the real challenge emerges for Zappos: how does the organization move forward and retain its focus on employees while trying to employ more traditional, conscientious ways of spending investor capital?