Not everybody loves his or her job. Amazon, the world’s largest retailer knows that, and this mega company does not just want any old employee, they want dedicated employees working for them. To make sure that is what they have, they strive to cull the slackers by giving them a little incentive. Amazon pays employees up to $5,000 to quit their jobs.
While paying employees to quit their jobs sounds crazy, Amazon has hit upon a novel idea that will separate the serious employees from those who are simply on board with one purpose in mind, and that is to receive a check on payday.
Amazon Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bezos said this is more than concept; it is a company policy known as “Pay to Quit,” which is written in formal letter format and offered to employees of the fulfillment centers, where customer orders are pulled, packed, and shipped, every year.
While Amazon is serious about their offer to pay employees $5,000 to quit their jobs, they hope the employees do not take them up on it. In fact, there is a clause at the top of each letter that says, “Please don’t take this offer.”
Here is how the “Pay to Quit” policy works. Once a year, Amazon gives each employee working in their fulfillment centers the opportunity to bow out of their job and even offers them cash to do so. The amount of cash offered is dependent upon how long each employee has been with the company. All first year employees are offered $2,000, and that amount goes up each year until the amount caps out a maximum payoff of $5,000. Once the maximum payoff amount is reached, employees will continue to receive a $5,000 “Pay to Quit” letter each year. Employees who choose to take Amazon up on their offer to get paid to quit can walk away from their jobs with anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 stuffed in their pockets.
Bezos said this is far from a crazy idea. In fact, the intention of the “Pay to Quit” policy is to make employees stop and think for a moment. It allows them the opportunity to decide if they really want to continue moving forward as an Amazon employee or if they would rather take the money and run. In the end, Bezos thinks everything works out for the best because if an employee stays in a job they do not want, it is not healthy for the employee or the company. Instead, it is best if they part ways.
Amazon did not indicate what percentage of employees actually take the offer each year and how many decline it; however, a company representative said the number of employees that Amazon paid $5,000 to quit their jobs was only “a small percentage” of the total number of employees given the letter.
While many of Amazon’s fulfillment center warehouses are staffed with temporary employees, the “Pay to Quit” policy only applies to fulltime employees.
Amazon is not the only company to take this approach with their employees. Other big companies, such as Zappos, a clothing and shoe retailer and Netflix, an on-demand and internet streaming media provider, also use like-kind incentive programs to weed out employees who are not serious about their jobs or establishing a long-term career with their companies.
Amazon hopes they will not have to pay their employees $5,000 to quit their jobs. However, they would rather shell out the cash and rid the company of employees who are not serious about their jobs than to keep them and suffer the consequences of their lack luster performance.
Opinion By Donna W. Martin