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How Zappos Motivates Employees Essay

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2022


Zappos has shown to be one of the companies that build effective environments that encourage employee motivation and build inclusiveness. Over the recent decade, Zappos has been among the best companies to work for, showing high levels of employee productivity and happiness. This has become possible since the organization’s CEO is highly focused on making sure that the works that he is leading share the mission and vision of the organization and work together to reach them. Several strategies have been identified that improve the productivity, performance, and attitude of employees toward their work at Zappos.

Motivational Strategies Implemented by Zappos

Psychological empowerment is one of the strategies that Zappos has used to motivate its workers. Originating from industrial-organizational psychology, psychological empowerment is a motivational approach that combines competence, choice, meaningfulness, and impact (Meng & Sun, 2019). Zappos has shown to use the principle by requiring weeks of training for the newly-hired personnel and setting specific expectations about knowledge. The workers are expected to receive meaningful education and learn to be a team with a positive impact on the organization. Instilling trust is an important part of such a process, with the organization’s leaders working toward making sure that every worker fits the culture of the company (Alhidari, 2017).

Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards have also been widely implemented at the organization to motivate employees and show them that they are highly valued. While an intrinsic reward implies intangible recognition or a sense of achievement, an extrinsic reward is tangible and is given to an employee for achieving something (Nduka, 2016). By building trust and a sense of community within an organization, Zappos has always been celebrating employees’ achievements by giving praise and instilling a sense of accomplishment. The organizational culture of the company is developed in such a way that allows for the ongoing interactions between workers and their managers, which makes praise and continuous feedback possible (Dur & Schmittdiel, 2019). As to extrinsic motivation, Zappos has created several incentive plans, such as Grant-a-Wish, Coworker Bonus, and Zollars. While the programs have incentivized employees to earn more, they are also concerned with helping workers do what they want to by fulfilling their tangible wishes.

Motivation through job design is another strategy that Zappos has been implementing to boost the performance and accomplishment of its workers (Madhani, 2020). By delivering above and beyond basic workplace needs and addressing the expectations of workers’ self-actualization, the company has formed a job design that improves overall satisfaction, the quality of work and reduces overall employee problems. Motivation through job design is also reflected in the organization’s core values and the focus on building a team and a family in which the opinions of every employee are heard, accepted, and valued.


To conclude, Zappos is an excellent example of an organization that prides itself on motivating employees and making them happy. The company’s management has been dedicated to building a flat organizational structure and reach high levels of transparency, thus creating an environment in which workers feel valued and accomplished. As noted by the CEO of the company, Tony Hsieh, happiness is the main force behind every action that workers take at Zappos, which is a highly unique approach compared to many other companies that focus on reaching KPIs as the main motivational strategy.


Alhidari, A. (2017). Proactive communication mode (PMC) of Zappos: The success of consumer engagement. British Journal of Economics, Management & Trade, 16(2), 1-9.

Dur, R., & Schmittdiel, H. (2019). Paid to quit. De Economist, 167, 387-406.

Madhani, P. (2020). Effective rewards and recognition strategy: Enhancing employee engagement, customer retention and company performance. World at Work, Second Quarter 2020, 39-48.

Meng, Q., & Sun, F. (2019). The impact of psychological empowerment on work engagement among university faculty members in China. Psychology Research and Behavior management, 12, 983-990.

Nduka, O. (2016). Employee motivation and performance. Centria University of Applied Sciences. Web.

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