Being Incented to Quit – Say What?!

Typically we hear of companies incenting their employees to stay in their current roles however a couple big names have done the opposite. Both Amazon and have programs that actually incent their employees to QUIT!

4 min read

For decades companies have strategized and racked their brains on how to keep  top talent from migrating to other organizations. With recruiting becoming increasingly competitive and expensive, many companies have made a point to let their current employees know just how valued they are. Through employee engagement surveys, appreciation events, bonuses and rewards, companies hope that overall employee happiness, loyalty, and morale will remain high. However, even at the best companies, that’s not always realistic. Your most dedicated employees will eventually move on and it’s in your favor to motivate them to do so before they become a disengaged member of your team. In fact, Gallup estimates actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity, so it’s no wonder companies like Zappos and Amazon are flipping employee incentives on their head by incenting employees to quit. This isn’t to say these companies want people to quit. However, if the job is no longer meeting their needs or isn’t what they expected, they can take the offer and leave. For Zappos, the program only applies to their customer service department and offers employees $2,000 to leave the company  after their first 4 weeks on the job. If the role isn’t a good fit or isn’t what they were expecting, they can take the money and run. For Amazon, their program only applies to employees working in their fulfillment centers. Employees must have worked for Amazon for one year before the offer is on the table and the cash incentive actually increases the longer the employee has worked there. While the programs’ structures are different, the message is essentially the same. Zappos and Amazon are taking a stand against the disengaged worker. These two corporate powerhouses are sending a clear message that being a part of the team is so valuable that they are willing to pay employees that don’t truly want to be a part of the team to leave. What do you think of this unique use of incentives? As more studies on engaged versus disengaged employees become more popular do you think we’ll be seeing more of these types of incentives? Share with us! Worried your workforce may become disengaged? Consider using an MBO system like Xactly Objectives to promote engagement, provide visibility, and motivate your teams. Interesting to note: Zappos is an Amazon company but Zappos’ program has been offered since 2008. Amazon is just now introducing a similar program.