Culture April 10th, 2018

WorldBlu Names Zappos A 2019 Freedom-Centered Workplace

Sit down. Be humble.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar may have made the phrase famous. But Zappos put "Be Humble" to practice in 2006 with the release of its 10 Core Values.

Now, this may sound silly, but mentioning that fact alone makes us want to hide under a rock. Why? Because our company never wants to come across as braggy, pretentious or make Mr. Lamar feel behind the times.

That’s not the Zappos way.

In fact, we invite anyone to visit Zappos headquarters to see our humble company and culture in action.


But walk into our lobby, and you won’t find a display case of glitzy awards and trophies sitting front and center. That would give us the nervous sweats. Instead, you’ll have to venture to a far corner of the office to find any such accolades.

And that’s also where you’ll find our tenth WorldBlu Freedom-Centered Workplace award.

This prestigious honor is given to only a handful of companies each year, representing nearly every industry from across the globe. To be considered, employees from all levels of the organization (individual employee level, leadership level, and systems and processes level) must complete a rigorous annual assessment and measure up against WorldBlu’s 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy.

This means evaluating and recognizing businesses that have a strong company culture and create an open and honest environment for employees. Two trademarks that continue to define Zappos, with the aforementioned core values and Holacracy leading the way.

“Companies that practice freedom rather than fear in their workplace in terms of how they operate and treat their employees average almost seven times higher revenue growth compared to companies on the S&P 500 Index,” says Traci Fenton, WorldBlu founder and CEO.

Organizational democracy is the framework for freedom, and it’s a proven strategy for creating world-class cultures and highly-resilient companies

  • Traci Fenton, WorldBlu founder and CEO

According to Zappos Chief of Staff Jamie Naughton, Zappos has participated in the WorldBlu survey in each of the last 10 years and with increasing meaning each time.

“It’s important to check in with our employees and make sure Zappos is working for them as much as they’re working for Zappos,” Naughton said. “We’re committed to operating as a self-managed company and a big part of that is making sure employees feel empowered to make changes in the organization, especially as they affect our customers.”

Krissee Danger, who began her Zappos career in Customer Loyalty but has transitioned to other roles, says it best:

“Having the freedom that I do in my work allows me to go all-in. It empowers me to take full ownership of my projects, my career path and the culture we create,” says Danger. “That same freedom affords me opportunities that I might never have had at a traditional company.”

Now that’s truly humbling. And worth standing up for.


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