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How ZogSports Founder & CEO, Robert Herzog, Shows Employees He Cares

Posted by Samantha Roblin on Jul 18, 2017 10:37:00 AM

About Robert “Zog” Herzog:

Rob founded ZogSports after having a close call on 9/11. After arriving late for work, he witnessed his office, which was located on the 96th floor of World Trade Center Tower #1, being directly hit by the first plane. Rob decided to build on the tremendous human charity he witnessed following 9/11 and to help foster community in New York by creating ZogSports, which encourages New Yorkers to maintain perspective and a more balanced lifestyle by having fun while also giving something back to the community. Robert holds an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from Brown University.

3 Ways I Show I Care About My Team

Before founding ZogSports, I worked at eight companies (six full-time, two internships) and was exposed to dozens more as a management consultant. With each successive job I hoped to find a meaningful experience that inspired me to work every day. While some companies did more right than wrong, most didn’t consider their employees’ experience when making decisions about how to run the business.

When I founded ZogSports fifteen years ago, I wanted to create an environment where my team WANTED to come to work and I’m proud to share that we’ve been pretty successful. ZogSports has won multiple awards including “Crain’s Best Places to Work,” “Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies,” and “Certified B-Corporation.”

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Our success begins with caring about our employees. Here are three ways I show my team I care:

1) The Zog Three Questions

One of our Core Values is CARING which means caring reactively (if an employee has a challenge), as well as caring proactively.

Employees start by answering the Zog Three Questions:

i) What are your dreams?

ii) What do you want to learn in the next 6–12 months?

iii) What are the top 10 fun things you want to do outside of work?

Employees’ answers live on the same document as their quarterly priorities to ensure they hold themselves accountable. We meet to discuss an employee’s Zog Three Questions twice a year to track progress and help make their goals a reality. Plus, we give every employee an annual $400 stipend to pursue continuing education, whether it be a new skill to help them at work or just something they find interesting.

We ask the Zog Three Questions because it’s a tangible step towards promoting employee happiness and a healthy work-life balance.

Zappos CEO and workplace happiness thought leader, Tony Hseih, identifies four drivers of happiness: Vision/Meaning, Connectedness, Perceived Progress and a Perceived Control. The Zog Three Questions helps create a sense of personal meaning, as well as a sense of progress and control by doing and learning whatever an employee WANTS to do and learn. Plus, many employees find a greater sense of connectedness by prioritizing meaningful time spent with friends, family and coworkers.

Employees who can identify what they want to do outside of work (as well as with whom they want to do it) are able to be more productive at work. ZogSports employees have the blessings of the company, and their manager, to spend the time necessary to pursue their goals outside the office.

2) The Employee Donation Program

Every year, we make a donation to every employee’s charity of choice. Since launching ZogSports fifteen years ago, the Employee Donation Program has been an easy way to demonstrate my caring for our employees and our employees’ caring for their communities.

The Employee Donation Program helps everyone take pause and think about where and why they want to make their donation. We have begun sharing the recipient charities with the entire company, along with a sentence from each person about why they made their donation. This sharing process is a way for the whole team to connect more deeply with one another because it provides personal insight into what each person values.

3) Sharing The Vision

Why do we do what we do? Where are we going? I have long believed that for great work to happen, you need to know WHY you’re doing it. I spend the bulk of my time sharing and discussing the ZogSports vision. By making our vision transparent and an impetus for discussion, it shows my team that I want them to know where we’re going and that I need their help getting there.

To move forward, we need the entire team’s innovation, problem solving and ownership of projects. By sharing the company vision, it demonstrates to my team that we need them and that we’re all in this together.

-Robert Herzog, Founder and CEO, ZogSports


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About the Author

Robert Herzog, Founder and CEO, ZogCulture and ZogSports

I believe life is better with real personal connections, caring communities and a sense of play. I founded ZogSports after my close call on 9/11. In 2012, we launched ZogCulture to help create playful experiences at work so that employees can connect, be part of a community, and infuse play into the DNA of their company’s culture. We are directly impacting over 150,000 people per year across the country and have donated over $3.4M to charity. In 2017, Zog made the Crain’s Best Places to Work list (again!) and earned the prestigious B Corporation “Best For the World — Community” award.

If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, I have an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton and a BA in Economics (which I rarely use) from Brown. I live and play in NYC with my awesome wife of 15+ years and two super active, sporty boys.

Interested in playing in a ZogSports league? ZogSports is America’s most popular social sports community, with over 125,000 players forming millions of new friendships every year. Sign up here to play.

Interested in bringing play to your company? ZogCulture creates playful employee experiences that create connections and builds community at work. Learn more by visiting our site or email to inquire about bringing Zog to your office.

Topics: Values, Employee Engagement, About, Community, Sports

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