Zappos Will Pay You To Quit

    June 16, 2008

As this past year at Yahoo! has been my first year working for what I’d consider to be a large company, I’ve become more interested in strategies around running and operating companies efficiently. My past experiences have been with startups or small companies where a lot of the challenges that larger companies face don’t exist.

This recent article about a practice at where they pay new customer service employees $1,000 to quit after their first month of training caught my eye. They seem to be thinking it’s doing well so far in making sure the employees working for really want to be there and feel that they are a good fit for the company.

It also brings up some questions. Does this affect the type of applicants they are getting? Do they have people applying with plans to actually quit ahead of time? Seems unlikely to me to go through a month’s worth of work and quit just to get an extra $1,000 opposed to keeping the job.

Is $1,000 enough? Would the number of employees quitting change if the number were $5,000? $10,000? They say that 10% of employees take them up on the $1,000 offer. How many take them up on a $10,000 offer? Is it the amount of money that matters, or just really giving the employees an easy out after the first month when they realize it isn’t for them?

Could this technique be used for more advanced positions? It seems to be working for customer service, but would it work for software developers? Marketing executives? Sure, you probably have to raise the number, but if I hired an experienced product marketer would they quit after a month for $10,000?

As I think through it, I think it might be the easy out of a job you don’t like instead of people really wanting the $1,000. Thoughts?