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Can "Best In Class" Culture Make HR a Revenue Center?

Who among us has not asked what HR can do to become a revenue center?

It seems like the easiest way to accomplish that would be to become best-in-class from a people Zappos management perspective, then sell consulting to other companies that want to be like you.

The clear leader in this space is Zappos.  Consider the following offer from their website:


I couldn't embed the video, but the jist of the offer is that Zappos is doing a two-day workshop, but there's limited availability - 20 seats - and a high pricetag - $5,000 per seat for the two days.  Airfare not included...

It's an interesting model, and one that could net Zappos 100K in revenue as a result of their committment to their culture.  WOW.

If you've been kicking around the blogoshere for at least a month, sampling different HR and Talent blogs, chances are you've come across the stylings of Zappos.  You know the company - widely espoused to be one of the most progressive workplace cultures in America, with the following features:

1.  All employees are on Twitter.
2.  They'll pay you $2,000 to leave the company after your training is complete.
3.  They've got a personal coach named "Dr. Vik" as part of their talent team.
4.  No offices, only cubes at Zappos, even for the CEO.
5.  The Zappos HR Team includes titles like "Assistant Cruise Ship Manager".

Ever want to dig in deeper to the Zappos vibe?  Now you can with a subscription service from Zappos called "Zappos Insights".  I missed the launch of this, so here's how the service was described in late 2008 AdWeek.

HR and culture as a revenue center.  Pretty interesting.


Tim G

This is a neat idea, as long as the people signing up realize that they are buying insights and ideas, not a culture. The only way to make those insights and ideas work is if the same operating principles exist in the organization that is trying to adopt them. To "be like Zappos" is kind of like saying "be like Mike" (from the old Nike ads featuring Michael Jordan); it could be inspirational to attend and think you can replicate it, but the fundamentals have to be in place.
But maybe that's part of their message, and some people can take the $5,000 per seat investment and turn it into progress.


I was part of the first Zappos Insights Live event and it was WELL worth the cash. One of the most amazing business experiences of my life and I would definitely recommend it to others.

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