18% of Employees Quit After Zappos Gets Rid of Bosses

Zappos spokesperson says getting used to the new system has been 'weird'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2016 5:45 PM CST
Online retailer Zappos has lost 18% of its workplace since instituting a new boss-less workplace structure.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – People like to complain about their bosses, but maybe bosses are a necessary evil. Back in 2013, online retailer Zappos announced it was getting rid of managers and job titles in favor of a new work culture that sounds, frankly, a little work cultish. When the change actually came last March, 210 employees promptly left the company. Now, the New York Times reports that number has risen to 260—or 18% of the Zappos workforce. Zappos executive Arun Rajan tells Quartz the majority of the recent deserters were managers. "As the company moves toward a system without traditional managers, this group of employees no longer filled crucial roles within the company," Quartz explains. Rajan says the company would have likely had to lay off some of the managers if they hadn't left voluntarily.

The new management system installed by CEO Tony Hsieh is called holacracy and attempts to get rid of the bureaucracy that can hurt employee innovation, the Washington Post reports. According to the Times, many employees were excited to have more freedom within the company, but even Zappos' head of public relations acknowledged the change was "weird." The Post reports some of the innovations being floated under the new management structure include a Zappos airline and Zappos-branded porta-potties. “While we have lost a number of folks, it is important to note that we have a significant group of highly talented individuals who will be staying to help move Zappos forward,” the Times quotes a statement from Rajan. Employees who leave Zappos because of the new system are offered a buyout.

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