Human Resources News & Insights

You hired them — now pay them to quit?

You’ve spent the time and effort to recruit a great bunch of new hires. One company says your next step should be paying them to leave.

That’s what Zappos, an online shoe retailer, has started doing. The company spends about four weeks doing orientation and training. A week or so into the process, the hires are offered a $1,000 bonus to resign immediately.

Sound crazy? Here’s the reasoning behind it:

Anyone who accepts the offer must not have the sense of commitment the company’s looking for. Paying those people to leave helps whittle the staff down to those who really want to be there.

Of course, there seems to be a few problems with the system. For one thing, anyone who’s just started a job may not have another one lined up already — therefore, their motivation for not accepting the bonus might be purely financial, too. Also, it’s doubtful someone’s level of commitment after a week of training will be indicative of how engaged they’ll be later on.

The company thinks it’s worth it, even though it must cost a big chunk of money. In addition to the $1,000 bonus, the company has to pay a week’s salary, plus all the time and resources wasted on recruiting that person.

You can read more from Harvard Business Online.

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  1. This sounds like a pretty stupid idea. Take the time to do a better job evaluating potential employees during the interview process and you won’t need to pay recruits to leave. Zappos should spend the money on improving the training of their HR people.

  2. Shirl sieli says:

    So many people get hired who turn out to be flakes. I know of a person hired several years ago that fits this description. But that person has it made so that person will never leave without something being changed in management. This person takes off “sick” all the time, claims that vacation promises were made when hired but that claim is not true, is not motivated to do anything unless forced to do work and much more. The solution is to put this person on an hourly basis and not pay this person for unworked hours that this person decides to take off. Many people take advantage of jobs like this one and it makes bad feelings for staff that really does work hard for the company.

  3. Paying someone to leave before they waste more of a company’s time & resources does not sound like such a bad idea to me. Especially if the new employees are in a position where they deal with the public. I have ordered from Zappos and have spoken with their service reps on the phone. They are the most responsive and helpful people I have ever done business with. They make a positive and lasting impression regarding the company they work for. I will happily do business with them again and I have recommended Zappos to others. If even half of their customers have similar experiences, whatever Zappos is paying to weed out the disinterested is worth every penny.

  4. I cannot believe I even read this? I would think the word would get out on this and they would receive more applications that would not be a good fit simply because these applicants just want to receive the $1000.00 to quit after 2 weeks? This really makes no sense? Zappos needs to put their money into recruting, and into a Recruiter that can prescreen and ask the right questions to get the best talent into their door and keep them! What a waste of money!

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