Zappos. Who would think that an online shoe and clothing shop based in Las Vegas, Nevada, would crack the code of employee disengagement in the faltering retail industry? Well, they have. Why? I believe that one of their practices is changing the culture game. Notably, Zappos pays people to quit. Yes, you heard me right – it pays people to quit. And they are not alone.
In 2009, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, acquired Zappos, a company famous for its customer-focused services, culture, and “The Offer.” During new hire orientation, people are offered $4,000 to leave the company. When Amazon took over, it also acquired “The Offer,” which was started by Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh, and renamed it “Pay to Quit.” Amazon’s program works differently than at Zappos – employees at their fulfillment centers get the offer once a year, every year vs. once during orientation.
As reported in inc.com, Bezos explained the rationale, “The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”
Bezos understands that disengaged employees impose financial and emotional costs on an organization, and that even offering money to help such employees self-select out is a good deal. I couldn’t agree more.
BE AWESOME. Do you offer money to help disengaged employees self-select out? If not, it’s worth considering. As I say in my book and keynote speech, getting the right person in every chair is the first step to building an extraordinary culture and re-engaging your people. Toxic people put a drag on your company both financially and emotionally. Stop allowing these people to stay and you’ll reap rewards for decades to come.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.