Free «Human Resource Management» Essay

Human Resource Management

According to Newell and Scarbrough, human resource management (HRM) is one of the most important pillars in any company that expects to remain competitive in contemporary world (Newell and Scarbrough, 2002). As such, scholars have theorized different human resource management models with a few being practiced in managing human resource in companies. However, having a workable human resource management model proves to be unique to every company, as seen with successful companies like Apple and Google. Evidently, a number of factors, including company culture, contribute to the success of managing human resource in a company.

Ultimately,human resource management in business provides the opportunity for business organization to operate with the best personnel that are capable of delivering best services to customers. Managing human resource encompasses several undertakings, including welfare of the staff, planning for work schedules, providing of working equipment, hiring, performance management, compensation, wellness, safety, benefits, organization development, employee motivation, administration, training and communication (Marchington & Adrian, 2005). Technology has come in to aid in managing human resource and thus organizations that have well-managed human resource should feel the effect of having a healthy human personnel. Benefits of having a well-managed human resource in a business include the success of the business in a competitive environment.

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This paper discusses the environment that influences Zappos Family strategy and identifies the effects on the company’s human resource (HR) planning and implementation. The paper also evaluates how HR practices at the company fit within the strategic HRM model as an internal strategy. Finally, it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of Zappos HRM strategy and identifies opportunities for improvement of HR practices in the company.

As an industry leader, the environment in which Zappos Family operates requires that human resource management not only focus on customers but also employees. As such, the company operates with customers that include celebrities and record producers, thus, heightening the standards of services that it ought to deliver. Additionally, ensuring satisfaction of its employees is also at the center of human resource as depicted in the numerous programs that are tailor-made to boost motivation among the employees (Langen, 2012). Consequently, Zappos focuses on earning a reputation as a good employer through regular training of its employees in customer service. Having an open culture where employees are free to give their opinions has contributed to the success of the company (Muller, Richard & Susan, 2008). Ultimately, the culture has now become daily work practices for all Zappos Family employees.

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Human resource management in several companies have service charters and core values that are used as guidelines in appraising employee performance in their work (Kaufman, 2010). However, most of them have failed to record anticipated results and staff turnover is high, because employees were not involved in developing the charters and values and, thus, fail to identify with them. Instead, the core values only come about as a management decision. The Zappos Family’s preparation of core values was inclusive of the employees as a consensus decision. The organization’s CEO, Tony Hsieh, through observation of employee behavior, developed a list of values sent it to the employee for their input and summarized them into core values.

According to Banfield and Kayhuman, resource management need to cultivate a culture of respect, motivation, and empowerment (Banfield & Rebecca, 2008).In such an environment, employees are able to make right decisions and use best judgments in their work. Evidently, Zappos Family encourages an environment of empowered employees, people respecting each other, and the company appreciates the ideas and opinions of the employees through sponsorship and support. New hires must therefore fully understand the culture of the company through an intensive hiring process. As such, they get to be involved in the focal area of the company through understanding of what they are doing and where they are going. The importance of these practices is handed down to new employees through signing of a core values document in their commitment to the values (Langen, 2012).

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With a household name and a huge number of followers, Zappos Family has the mandate to ensure that not only customers are satisfied but also its human resource workforce. Therefore, the company developed a strategic human resource management model that is unique to its performance in the industry of online marketing as an online retailer. Additionally, the internal restructuring that resulted in the formation of 10 companies testifies the tenacity that Zappos has in improving customer services as well as being a good employer.

One of the most challenging aspects facing companies in online marketing is retaining the standards they have set (Geoffrey, 2009). It becomes possible as the technology is very dynamic and many companies are striving to establish themselves as leaders in their industry. Zappos already has a standard through which it evaluates its success and reputation as an online retailer. Noticeably, the company operates in culture that hinges on core values, which are generated within the company, training, and employee motivation. As a result, the core values act as yardsticks in rolling out almost every program in the company that is related to human resource.

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Training plays a crucial role in aligning employees with the needs of the customers. Zappos Family has a rigorous program of training its employees, including the CEOs in customer service and warehouse training. These regular trainings leverage the employees in using the systems at the company, learn about Zappos Family culture and values, and generally exercise their skills in customer service for deployment to the call centers.  

Moreover, the employees working time is separated with an 80:20 rule that aims at preventing burnouts during working hours. As such, the employees have 20% of their time to attend development trainings or technical seminars besides spending 50 minutes writing greeting notes for customers. In addition, the company boasts of a training department that provides classes in Microsoft programs, public speaking and aims at helping the employees learn new skills and the culture at Zappos Family. Customized programs for each department in tracking the progression of their employees are also available (Langen, 2012).

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Similarly, Zappos Family keeps track of the development of its employees through annual culture review that comprises behavior-based questions, which relates to the core values. The company differentiates the culture review from performance appraisal in a manner that culture review exposes the strengths and weaknesses that employees have in concern to core values and proposes ways of improving in specific areas of weaknesses.

Human Practices at Zappos Family

Human resource practices are founded on the core values to drive performance at Zappos. Appreciation of employees is service-based and change is embraced. For instance, the company has a Wishes program, where employees have an opportunity of submitting a wish on the organization’s internal site and other employees can grant this wish. Such wishes include Christmas cookies or even a car being granted (Langen, 2012). In the same manner, human resource encourages employees to award their co-workers with cash bonuses per month to show their thankfulness for their help. The human resource ensures that a monthly newsletter is send to all employees indicating the reasons why a particular employee received bonus. As such, the employees are motivated, empowered, and encouraged to work harder the next month so that they can also be awarded with bonuses (Paauwe, 2004). In addition, the company encourages fun spiced with little weirdness, which makes work interesting. As a result, human resource encourages employees to be adventurous and open-minded. Creativity is supported through ideas that are rewarded with time offs from regular work duties to bring the ideas to reality. In the process, employees are motivated to think creatively and contribute to the growth of the company through their innovative ideas.

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Effective communication in a working environment is one of the main ingredients for successful business. Zappos encourages inclusive communication between management and employees, which has enhanced making of decisions that impacts the way employees perform their work. As such, communication is built on openness and honest relationships among employees and management of the company.

Similarly, human resource practices have built a positive team and family spirit between management and the employees. For instance, management give employees fake money that is used to buy products from the company’s store. In essence, recognition at the company is rewarded with gifts from the company through management. Additionally, family spirit is encouraged through employees nominating a co-worker to win a prime parking spot and a free car wash. The human resource encourages the practice of ensuring that employees feel empowered and motivated. As a result, employees are encouraged to accomplish more work with fewer resources through maximization of company resources. They are also encouraged to be passionate towards their work through determination and hard work (Langen, 2012).

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Furthermore, human resource is on the forefront to encourage acquisition of skills through trainings and programs. Weekly trainings ensure that employees remain relevant to the needs of the customers. Zappos Family has a human resource team that is fully dedicated to coordinating various events and functions to motivate the employees. For instance, one of the teams among Programs, Events, Activities, Charities, and Engagement teams keeps track of employees’ personal events including birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and sending of cards. Besides ensuring that employees have relevant skills through trainings, the company also ensures that personal matters of its employees are taken care of and this empowers employees to work creatively in their roles.

Strengths and Weakness of Zappos Practices

Zappos has the reputation of involving its employees in the decision-making process, especially in matters that deal with running the company. This involvement starts at the hiring level where new hires are taken through a rigorous training and signing of the company’s core values document. Evidently, the new hires are introduced to the culture of the company even before they start working and this helps to bring them to understanding what the company expects from them. Additionally, there are numerous training programs that the company offers through its Customer Loyalty Team. This leverages the company as a leading player in online retailing, thus, making it popular with customers as seen from the high number of visitors.

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In addition, teams, such as Programs, Events, Activities, Charities, and Engagement and Customer Loyalty, contribute to the motivation of the employees through trainings and rewards given to best performing employees. As a result, employees compete to outshine each other and in the process produce the best results for the company. The management of human resource at the company also supports employees’ innovative ideas through awarding bonuses and time offs to pursue those ideas that are beneficial to the company. This is important, because it ensures that the employees do not stuck in the interests of the company only, but also take time to pursue their interest within the time of their company. Besides, the company offers support through finance, the employee is also given time off from their regular duties to work their ideas into reality (Langen, 2012).

Similarly, the Zappos strategy helps in retaining skills of the employees as seen in the low turnover rate. High turnover rate would imply that the company spends heavily on training the staff that later leaves to work for other competing companies (Jackson & Randal, 2003). Nevertheless, Zappos has managed to provide employee satisfaction and this causes them to remain and work at the company. This means that the company is able to get the best out of the employees that it has trained. In addition, the vigorous interview process that combines both technical and culture-based screening ensures that the company only retains employees, who are ready to work in that environment. Communication between new employees and recruiters enhances making decisions and, therefore, ensures the recruiting of employees that can fit within the company profile (Sturm, 2012).











However, Zappos practices prevent upward growth since employees are trained to be specialised in their area of work. This implies that they cannot work for any other company as they are initiated in a culture of core values. Thus, it is possible for Zappos to take advantage of the specialized skills of employees to misuse them knowing well that they cannot fit in any other culture. Similarly, employees that do not meet the culture standards of the company may not be hired even if they possess other qualifications that are not in the core values of the company. In addition, the money given to new employees may be costly to the company, especially if the employee is later discovered to be unfit to work in the company and has to be discharged. The company does not have a way of retrieving its money from such an employee (Marchington & Adrian, 2005).


In conclusion, human resource management at Zappos Family is one of the pillars that has propelled the company to the top in online retail. Management values customized human resource and, therefore, support programs that are geared towards ensuring that staffs have relevant skills to serve increasing number of customers and that they are motivated and satisfied with the rewards they get from working at the company. Zappos culture, as enshrined in the core values act, is the foundation of human resource management.

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