Recognise This! – Company culture can spill over into employee personal lives. Make sure that’s a positive effect.

I enjoyed Tony Hseih’s speech at SHRM 2012. I particularly appreciated that he offered to send a copy of Zappos’ 2012 Culture Book to anyone who emailed him. (You can get your free copy here.) We did just that. I’ve enjoyed flipping through the book.

At around 200 pages of full-color images and text, this culture book is no small investment. Most impressive to me is the total lack of “corporate messaging.” 10o% of the content reflects the thoughts and contributions of the employees about Zappos’ culture, company values, and why it’s a great place to work. From long missives to short paragraphs (even a word-search puzzle), Zappos employees took the time to express clearly the importance of the company’s approach to creating a culture in which they can thrive.

Here’s just one example:

“The Zappos Culture, to me, is the environment where I can be my best self. Our culture reminds me to be patient, generous, and kind. And, because I’m living that every day at work, it spills over into my personal life, and I find myself more patient, more generous, and more kind there also. In that way, the Zappos Culture not only benefits me, but it also benefits my friends and family. I’m lucky to be a part of a place like this.”

This quote resonated so strongly with me because I so often see the same effect with recognition and appreciation in the workplace. When employees are encouraged to frequently acknowledge and appreciate their colleagues and peers for behaviours that reflect the company values and contributions that move the team and company forward, they soon find that pausing, noticing and thanking others becomes a habit – at work and in their personal lives. I know it certainly has for me.

Two questions today – have you created such a strong, positive culture in your workplace that you would trust your employees to contribute their thoughts and observations on that culture to a book you would offer free to anyone who wants it? Perhaps more importantly, does the culture you work in every day at your job spill over into how you interact in your personal life?

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