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Some Companies Bribe Their New Employees To Quit…REALLY?…MAYBE It’s A Good Idea?

So there I am leaving a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves. As I was walking to the car, I noticed that my cousin had just sent me an email. He thought I would enjoy the article (thanks AL) since it was about blogs. Since I hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, I thought I would give him a buzz and follow up on the article. During our conversation he mentioned that the list of blogs had a few cool stories and one of them was a company that actually bribes their new employees to quit. The company is Zappos. Since I don’t recall ever hearing of something like that I asked him to email me the article.

Zappos is a company that is growing and has a dynamic personality, to the point where a huge number of its 1,600 employees are power users of Twitter so that their friends, colleagues, and customers know what they’re up to at any moment in time. But here’s what’s really interesting. It’s a hard job, answering phones and talking to customers for hours at a time. So when Zappos hires new employees, it provides a four-week training period that immerses them in the company’s strategy, culture, and vision.

After a week or so in the experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls "The Offer." The company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: "If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus." Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!

Why does Zappos do this? They believe if you’re willing to take the company up on the offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for. Zappos wants to learn if there’s a bad fit between what makes the organization tick and what makes individual employees tick–and it’s willing to pay to learn sooner rather than later.

My initial reaction was that this idea was a little crazy, it couldn’t work and there wasn’t a place in business for this kind of practice. But then I thought a little longer and harder about it and realized that companies offer incentive packages to staff all the time. Yes most of the time — in fact every time I have heard a story, it is about staff that have been employed for a bunch of years.

  • But why couldn’t it work after a month?
  • Maybe this strategy is a good one?

I realize it can’t work in every company and certainly you could fire staff if it doesn’t work out from the company point of view, but doesn’t this strategy give you tremendous insight on what the employee is thinking?

I really look forward to your thoughts and comments.

P.S. About ten percent of new employees take the money and run.

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