The Trials of Team Building

Who doesn’t love arts & crafts??

(First of all, that was a rhetorical question for all you naysayers!) :p

Well, apparently, craft activities are extremely stressful for some people. As long as you’re able to let go of your inner perfectionistic critic, though, they can be a fun-tastic outlet for creativity!

The training team was all set & psyched to go race cars at Pole Position (with Ray A. threatening to put Loren B. “into the wall,” of course).

Unfortunately, this off-site team building event had to be cancelled due to the busy week we were having. :( But, thanks to Renee N. and Marcela G., we were still able to spend some quality time together and build something for all to enjoy! :)

It definitely wasn’t easy, though. First, the rest of the training team was called into a room under pretenses of having a meeting (about what, we didn’t have a clue, though we were all suspicious). Mysterious graphs leered at us from a stand at the front of the room, and there was a wheel to the left with each of our names on it. “We will spin the wheel and the person whose name it stops on will give us their ideas for the direction the team will be taking over the next year,” we were instructed.

Just when everyone was about ready to start hyperventilating (our Boss Lady especially!), the offending graphs were pulled aside to reveal a box of clay tiles and paints, and trays of yummy snacks appeared on the side tables.

“SURPRISE!! We’re having a team building event today regardless!”

Relieved as we were to not be having that meeting, most of us were still stressed out about what to paint on our respective tiles. But once we stopped over-thinking it and remembered how to let loose and be a big kid again, our imaginations poured out onto the tiles through our little plastic paintbrushes.

Renee and Marcela even took them to be glazed and fired for us, and they came out beautifully!

Soon we will be building a “wall” with the tiles for all to see and enjoy when they come visit us over in the training area. Look for a new entry coming to a blog near you! ;)

It All Started With An Email...

As most people know by now, at we like to promote fun and a little weirdness ( core value #3 ). So, since that particular core value is the Core Value of the Month for July, we decided to host a Sadie Hawkins dance, of sorts, on the 23rd.

No dancing was really expected to occur; the basic idea was to ask someone else to be your dress-up buddy for the day and come to work in matching clothes to take silly pictures. During the week before the event, there was obviously buzzing around the office about who was going to dress up like whom and what people were going to wear. But, for the deviously creative people in the training department, the real fun started with a simple email.

We’ve all done it at some point: you’re reclining back in your desk, you take a sip of your caffeinated drink of choice, and you casually begin to compose a new email message to your buddy about some event or cheeky joke of the day that you’re currently musing over. You start to type in their email address and, lo and behold, your super high-tech email program auto-populates it for you. You hit “Send.”

Shortly after hearing the jeers and giggles of your coworkers start like a wave around the building, you double check your sent folder. Oh SNAP!

One of our Zappos family members inadvertently sent an email out to the whole company asking if a particular person wanted to dress up in matching Social D shirts with jeans and white shoes for Sadie day. The training team got such a kick out of this that we schemed to create matching “Social D” shirts and don them for Sadie day in honor of our muse, the email’s sender (and to create a positive team & family spirit through laughter, of course). The sender actually loved our idea so much that she even personally autographed our shirts, and even the Zappos Mayor (Mr. Jerry T., helpdesk manager extraordinaire) joined in the fun!

As far as the rest of the event went, in true Zappos spirit, there were some fabulously creative costumes: a giant pair of handcuffs, two aspiring Guitar Heroes, and even Dog the Bounty Hunter and his—ahem—rather bosomy wife, Beth. All three actually won prizes, including Most Original for the handcuffs, Cutest Couple for the Guitar Heroes, and Most Creative for the dynamic bounty hunting duo.

I am humbly proud to say, though, that the training team did get an honorable mention… ;)

Kiva 411

Okay, so KIVA has been up and running for a while now and despite a few bumps along the way, everything is running great. Those little critters are working their circuits to the bone. Last time I talked about some employee’s views on KIVA itself and how they liked working with the new system. I heard from a few people how they would like to know how the process works and how it’s different from regular putaway or picking. So this is for all those eager young minds yearning for information.

Unlike site manager, which is ran throughout the rest of the warehouse, you don’t have to make a new password and type in your login every time. Instead all you have to do is scan your badge with the hand scanner that you use for putaway, or type in your name to get logged in. Easy enough. After the login screen, you are directed to a job option screen. On this screen you choose either putaway or picking/purging. Purging is a tool under picking that helps with picking multiple orders.

Once you choose which job you will be performing, you will be prompted to choose which pods you want to use. There are pods for small and large handbags, shoes, apparel, etc. Once you make your decision, the bots will automatically go and retrieve the appropriate shelving units. Once they bring them, all you have to do is put the items away. The only difference between putting away in KIVA and putting away in the static racks is in KIVA you have to scan the location and then scan the items, while in the static racks you have to scan the item first.

Now that you know the process I bet you can’t wait to jump in there and start working, right? Well of course you are. They’re just too neat not to want to work with the bots.

Catch Them Critters!

Attention! Attention! Read all about it! Zappos is being invaded by robots!

Okay, well maybe we’re not being invaded but we still have them, which is cool nonetheless. If you haven’t heard, is now running the new KIVA system. We are one of the first few companies in the United States to have them in our facility. For those who don’t know what KIVA is exactly, they are multiple robot units that actually bring storage shelves to a team member’s station to be filled with product. They also bring the shelves to a team member who needs to pick a product to be shipped to a customer. Based on the information you enter into the computer about the sizes and type of product you need to put away or pick, the robots bring you the appropriate shelves. Right now there are only a few employees working with them in order to make sure everything runs properly and smoothly. After about a week or so of working with the KIVA system, this is what a couple employees had to say about it:

“Our first day in KIVA was really exciting. We learned what does and doesn’t belong in the pods and which pods to use for specific items. The pods have certain areas for small and large purses/wallets, small shoes, and even designated spots for watches and hats. It makes everything so much more organized and easier to not only put away but also to pick.” – -Suzanne B.

KIVA definitely makes my job easier. It gets really hot in the warehouse and after a full day of walking back and forth between floors and pushing a cart, you’re ready to fall over. I love the KIVA robots because they do all the work. It not only helps me keep my energy, it lets me keep my same fast pace throughout the whole night.” – Beth W.

Based on the feedback from the employees and the progress of the KIVA system itself, it is believed that our receiving and shipping processes have broke new grounds in getting new products and pleasing the customers. Looks like we even deliver WOW to ourselves. This is just a glimpse of what the future will hold for us at Keep checking back for more updates about the KIVA system and all the little critters.

All ready to go!

Our very own Chris M. checking out the Picking process.

The beautiful overlook of the robot village.

Fresh and Easy.. Incubation Update!

Last week, we had account from Derek F., our inside man in Zappos CLT Incubation, check out his first installment here . We hear from Derek again this week, deep in the trenches and nearing the end of one of the most exciting times for any new CLT member. Take it away, good sir!

Well, the time has come! We are in our final days of Incubation, and then on to the floor of CLT land! I think I speak for most people when I say that Incubation has prepared us for the floor in a way that is much better than just throwing us right on the phones and letting us sink or swim.

With that said, I am happy to say that all of us in Incubation passed the final exam with flying colors, and all of our final QA’s were very good. We have all gotten our team assignments and we have met with our new leads, and after our graduation pot luck tomorrow, we move to our new desks. I think that we will compliment our new teams nicely. All in all, it looks as though we have all progressed to where we can all one day be superstars within CLT, and I know that makes our Incubation Leads proud to be a part of that.

My lead, Abbie, helped me get from a point of frustration to a great place where I can grow and learn and be the best there is on the floor. She was able to help me set goals that were improved on with each quality assessment and she even busted out the Post-its with all kinds of tips on them to help me remember everything that I had forgotten to mention to customers. Those little things helped me get past my learning curve.

Incubation for us comes to end tomorrow and we are going to enjoy our graduation with a little trip to the Mini Grand Prix tonight and a graduation pot luck tomorrow. Goodbye Incubation, you are gone, but not forgotten. We have finally grown up…

_*Congratulations to all of our new CLT members! Rock on!* _

Fresh and Easy..CLT Incubation

Here at, our new CLT reps have many hurdles to go through to becoming full time employees, and today we are going to discussing Incubation.

After leaving our fantastic CLT training course, they head to what we call “Incubation.” I visualize it as a “training outside of training.” It’s purpose is to fine tune the skills that you have learned in training and also get you acclimated with the general “ways of the call center floor.” They move to the call center building, focus more their acquired skills and work together as
a team. With that being said, here is an account of one of our new employees, Derek Flores, who is currently in Incubation. Take it away, Derek!

“Today is the seventh day in incubation, and let me tell you, we are getting the whole Zappos experience. Our leads are awesome and have done a lot in helping us understand and overcome the various challenges that we will face once we get out onto the floor. First, we
have Jim who is the lead of the morning shift, 6:00-3:00. Then we have Derek (D-Rock) and Abbie who have the later shift, 11-8. Overall, we are very impressed with their knowledge base regarding the questions we have for them. It’s kind of hard to stump them, but I am waiting for that one question that will get Jim to say, “Wow, never heard that one before!” I feel that these guys, and girl, are a great fit for our group of unique individuals.

Each day has been very interesting and fun as we are introduced into the Zappos Culture. We are all embracing the core values and are doing so through Core Value Presentations. Each person is paired up with another person within Incubation and assigned a core value to present to the entire class. So far we have had some great presentations, but these couple have stood out in my mind.

Noelle and Liz’s group were assigned, Creating Fun with a Little Weirdness and they brought in pipe cleaners and clay for us to make weird little objects. Some people made unique things out of the pipe cleaners and others made really weird objects out of the clay, but it showed each and every one of us that we all can create fun and a little weirdness.

One more presentation I have to write about is Randy and Greg’s group. There core value presentation was on Building an Open and Honest Relationships with Communication. They brought in bread, peanut butter and jelly and wanted us to explain to Greg how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as if he had never made one before. I will let you know that one of us did not tell Greg to use a knife and he stuffed his whole hand into the peanut butter….it was quite a sight. The presentations are good because each group has related the core value to something that we encounter everyday here at Zappos and how we can use them to either help better us or overcome challenges that accompany the job.

Well, so far, so good, with seven days under our belt. Tune in later for more from the wonderful world of Incubation.”

Thanks Derek, hang in there!!

Zappos HR's Dancing Queen (or, a couple of THESE!!)

Howzit, faithful followers?!

I really hated to title this latest HR / Training pulsating post as I did, (waaaay too many ABBA references his week for some reason), but what choice did I have??? Feast your ogling ojos on this:

That’s Zappos HR’s very own ninja prom queen, Heaven “Heavenless” T. showing us what she’s got. ‘nuff said.

Oh wait, that’s not true!! I also managed to score a pic of Jamstar’s recent glittering gift from one of her joie de vivre vendors:

Perhaps coming to a Zollar Store near you!! Sweeeeeet……

Some parting notes!

Jobs@zappos ! Come getcha some!

Special thanks to Tony “Gender Bender” H. , Zappos CEO , for letting me post Heaven’s performance here, instead of snatching it from my archives for his own sinister purposes, and waiting ever so patiently for me to get it out. Yer the best Tony. Love ya. Mean it.

Coming Soon!
-How HR’s Monthly Outing literally rocked! (promise this one’s coming really soon)
-An update from Training! (sorry, really needed to get Heaven’s routine up!) Powered by Hope! (and another Dancing Queen!!)
-Random Rozzy Thoughts! (building anticipation…it’ll be worth it!)
-The Benches Are Here!!!!! (or, “Why We Love Rozzy and Rebecca L.!”)
-What’s all this about Twitter , then?!!

Until we meet again, “Yes! A brain transplant!...I don’t need it; take my brain!”
(follow me on twitter!)

Have any ideas on how this crazy, kooky thing we call a blog could evolve? They don’t even need to be good ones! Have a burning question, or a need to wax philosophical? Need some sage advice? I’m here for you, citizens of the intarweb, and my sustenance is your comments!!!

We Came, We Picnicked, We Encountered!

Salutations, rapturous readers! I hope this merry missive from yours truly finds you reasonably chirpy! There was no wayI could let the week come to an end without one last update, as there was a boat-load of stuff that happened in’s HR and Training teams since last we spoke!

So much culture , so little time…

Much of that boat-load had something to do with Jamie N., Zappos’ resident Cruise Ship Coordinator! Also called “JamStar!” by those who know her best, she creates and coordinates myriad and momentous employee-related events, activities, and programs…kind of like Julie from the Love Boat , but without that 80’s perm and with a bit more of an edge.

Our 4th Annual Zappos Employee Picnic was the largest to date, and ridiculously successful…

The calm before the crazy.

Kris Z. and Angela M. realizing they’re clearly outclassed. (Not that there’s anything classy about Bryan T.’s utter abandonment of all civility…)

L to R: Steve P., Mark G., Steve H., Fred M., Meghan B., and Eileen L. Winners of the Team Challenge!

...and JamStar just couldn’t resist making some mischief along the way:

“Ever since HR’s very own Dave H. won the typing contest , there have been vicious rumors aboutHR rigging results. Some of us decided to fight back. We held a raffle at the picnic, drew the winners yesterday, and sent the following email:

Congratulations to the following folks lucky enough to win a prize in the Picnic Raffle:

  • 1 Play Station 3 (Valued at $400) = Dave W. from HR
  • 1 Stainless Barbeque Grill Station (Valued at $200) = Drew K. from HR
  • 2 Flip Video Camera (Valued at $155 each) = Rebecca R. and Hollie D. from HR
  • 1 Espresso Coffee Maker (Valued at $100) = Christa F. from HR
  • 2 Polaroid Digital Camera (Valued at $90 each) = Jacob P. and Rosalind S. from HR
  • 1 Margarita Madness Machine (Valued at $80) = Eric V. from HR
  • 1 Shell Gift Card (Valued at $50) = Heaven T. from HR

Wow, it looks like HR really swept the grand prizes. Luck of the draw I guess.

“Phones started to ring, inboxes started to blow up. It was great! Just some of the comments: Cheaters!...Jamie, that’s statistically a little suspicious…this is gonna really upset people that everyone in HR won and no one else, wow…rofl!...You should send a follow-up picture of HR loading everything into someone’s trunk.

“We let the team off the hook and sent the list of the real winners out. This caused another flood of emails: THAT WAS GREAT!!!... You guys are too much!... Here we all were with out mouths agape, when we got your second email…You punks!... You should have heard the grumbling goin on over here!!... Nice trick. LOL”

PS: For those of you questioning whether Dave H. actually won the typing contest last week, he’s happy to go mano a mano with anyone doubting his skills. You name the time and place.

Meanwhile, the trail-blazing Training team was having an out of this world Las Vegas Encounter! Super Trainer,
Adrienne “Abductee” C. probes into greater detail for us: “Remember the exchange student program in high school? Zappos does! Every 3 weeks or so, we fly 5-10 employees from the fulfillment center (our warehouse) in Shepherdsville , Kentucky out to Vegas , put them up at the local Station Casinos hotel , and give them rental cars to run wild around town!

“They spend a week with us in our corporate office learning how the ‘other side’ lives and works. They visit
different departments and get to do some hands on stuff. Before this group left to go home, they wanted to do a parade around the office. You know how much we love parades !!!

“Sharing their Kentucky-ness by bringing the Derby to us Vegans!”

“A Vegas trip isn’t complete without visiting the sign !”

Some parting notes: Jobs@zappos ! For all my friends!

Have any ideas on how this crazy, kooky thing we call a blog could evolve? They don’t even need to be good ones! Have a burning question, or a need to wax philosophical? Need some sage advice? I’m here for you, citizens of the interweb!

Coming Soon:

  • How HR’s Monthly Outing Literally Rocked!
  • Random Rozzy Thoughts (yer gonna love this)
  • The Benches Are Here!!!!! (or, “Why We Love Rozzy and Rebecca L.”)

Catch y’all on the flip side, and remember: “We gotta find that troll!”