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Employer to Employee: Go On, Take the Money and Run

EmployeeHow many of us have ever wished that we could voluntarily leave our job? But once the truth sinks in, most of us don’t, because our responsibilities outweigh our wants. This is usually the case for most of our daily occurrences, but for some organizations, they boldly encourage the discouraged to leave. Believe it or not, it only takes a little cash incentive to give these people a little nudge out the door. Still, that’s not the kicker; it’s becoming increasingly tempting to consider the reality that paying disengaged employees to quit may actually be beneficial for both parties in the long-run. In theory, employees gain the opportunity to move onto greener pastures. Organizations get to cycle out the talent that was going to cost them serious money in the long-run. The way these organizations see it is why wait around for the costs of decreased productivity and turnover  to spillover into their workplace culture? It’s a unique approach to keeping the fire (engagement and productivity) from going out. Although, it kind of makes you wonder about the kind of message it sends or may be sending to employees that live constantly on the border of engagement and disengagement.

Some of the bold organizations that encourage their employees to leave if they are disengaged include Riot Games, Zappos, and Amazon. Awkward pause here, but I thought Zappos is known for its high levels of employee engagement? I wonder if paying employees to leave actually factors into this? If so, then how much? Here’s something wild that you don’t hear every day: Riot Games pays employees 10 percent of their salary, up to $25,000, to get up and quit their jobs, and in case if you were wondering, they’ll even do it if you’ve only worked for them for one day. But no worries; they don’t actively discourage employees to call it a day: “…we don’t want to actively push people out or dare them to leave, but we do want to provide a well-lit, safe exit path,” says anonymous source.

Are Companies Playing With Fire?

Big organizations like Zappos pay their employees $2,000 to hit the road if they want. Amazon will offer $3,000 to its warehouse workers to leave and up to $5,000 for their experienced people. Again, it makes me wonder about the kind of message it sends to workers that live on the edge of engagement and disengagement. Is this economic filtering process of keeping the engaged talent around a fire hazardous approach or just plain good business for the times that we live in? Amazon’s Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, believes that, “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.” That’s a pretty reasonable statement to make. Of course, people can always retort back with the questioning of what were the circumstances that caused employees to get up and cash out.

Wildly enough, Jeff came under some pressure last year when 40,000 signatures signed a petition that called for better working standards in the UK, within 48 hours. Apparently, reports stated that workers were averaging 11 walking miles per shift, and they are forced to work overtime. They even time employees’ bathroom breaks, and taking more than three sick days earns you a one-way trip out the door. It’s easy to understand why an organization wouldn’t want disengaged employees hanging around and costing it hours of productivity, especially in this case. Think about it: Why would any organization want its disengaged employees hanging around the engaged ones? It’s probably one of the reasons why Amazon offers its employees an annual opportunity to decide if they want to continue sticking around.

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This article was originally posted on Recruiter.com.

photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc