Every business owner or manager fantasizes about running the ideal organization with happy, loyal, hardworking employees who are enthusiastic about coming to work – day in, day out.

Very few could actually pull that off.

Taking a look at Zappos’ strategies for employee loyalty, and you can’t help but think that they are at least pretty close to hitting the mark:

  1. Extensive cross-training – getting familiar with all aspects of the sales cycle
  2. An offer they’re free to refuse – a no-gimmick monetary offer to leave Zappos if they don’t feel they’re a fit
  3. Encourage self-expression – free to personalize your office/cubicle/team
  4. Plenty of free (cheap) grub – need I say more?
  5. An in-house life coach – class sessions are arranged for goal setting and counseling
  6. Recognition & Rewards – pretty standard with most larger companies
  7. Taking it easy on the metrics – less pressure on productivity to encourage more productivity
  8. Empowerment – employees are free to handle customer issues as they see fit e.g. sending free shoes
  9. Health and wellness – they have a nap room…enough said.
  10. Nurturing culture – volunteers pro-actively devising ways to improve company culture

Sure, making billions of dollars a year does afford you many creative ways to promote employee satisfaction. But I believe that the effort and investment needed to nurture culture is the first and most important step.

That’s partly because it often costs the least, financially. Culture is innate and organic, and it takes both an inspiring leader and an empowered community to harvest it.