A Bonus For This, a Bonus For That — How About a Bonus to Quit?

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Ever think about offering a bonus for employees to quit your organization?

Zappos has – and it’s an interesting case study, particularly as the bonus opportunity is part of its unique onboarding process.Zappos is known for its unique culture and, not surprisingly, it screens job applicants carefully for cultural fit.

Those that don’t pass the cultural fit screening aren’t hired, no matter what skills and capabilities they bring to the table. Those that do progress to the company’s training program.

All new hires go through a 4-week training program that includes 2 weeks of taking customer calls. The obvious benefit is getting everyone attuned to the customer service standards of the company. But there’s a bonus, Hsieh says. During holidays and heavy sales periods, anyone in the organization can (and does) sit down and start answering phones. That means Zappos never needs to hire temps who might not uphold the company’s high customer service standards.

Once people complete the 4-week training period, they are offered a $3,000 bonus to quit. It’s Zappos’ way of saying we only want people who really want to work here. Two or three percent of trainees take the bonus and leave, Hsieh says. Zappos believes that this is money well-spent as these are people who probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.”

Not only that, but Hsieh believes that there is a positive impact on the trainees who end up staying, that the act of rejecting the departure bonus has the effect of strengthening their commitment to the company.

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Could your organization benefit from the select use of a quit bonus? What’s your take on the Zappos practice?

This was originally published on Ann Bares’ Compensation Force blog.

Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. She has over 20 years of experience consulting in compensation and performance management and has worked with a variety of organizations in auditing, designing and implementing executive compensation plans, base salary structures, variable and incentive compensation programs, sales compensation programs, and performance management systems.

Her clients have included public and privately held businesses, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, early stage entrepreneurial organizations and larger established companies. Ann also teaches at the University of Minnesota and Concordia University.

Contact her at abares@alturaconsultinggroup.com.

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