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These Companies Pay Unhappy Workers to Quit

Topics: Work Culture
Why would a company hire you, spend time and manpower training you, and then pay you to quit? More than one successful organization has employed this strategy, and for good reason.
pay unhappy workers to quit
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Some companies, like Amazon and Zappos, have programs that pay unhappy workers to quit. They feel that, ultimately, it’s good for business and that it saves money in the long term. Here’s why.

Happy workers are good for business

Research has shown that happy workers are 12 percent more productive than unhappy workers. When people like what they’re doing, they’re more engaged and more invested. Unhappy workers, on the other hand, are less productive than most. Their productivity trends around 10 percent below the norm.

Now that companies know that employee happiness is so crucial to improving a company’s bottom line, many organizations have started to make it a priority. Companies that invest in employee happiness are finding success. Workplaces with high levels of employee engagement outperform others in customer ratings, productivity and profitability. Happy workers are proving to be a successful company’s biggest asset.

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Unhappy workers come with a cost

If happiness pays, than unhappiness must come with a cost. That’s the idea behind some company programs that actually offer workers money to walk away.

At Zappos, new hires are given the option to take a month’s salary in exchange for walking away at around the halfway mark of their four-week training program. The policy is officially called the Graceful Leave Policy. But, it’s informally referred to as “The Offer” at Zappos.

The idea here is to weed out the workers who don’t really want to be there with the understanding that, in the end, it’s more beneficial for everyone for these folks to step down.

Amazon, which bought Zappos in 2009, offers a similar program called Pay to Quit. Workers in the company’s fulfillment centers are offered cash to leave the company once per year. They’re offered $2,000 the first year and another $1,000 is added each you to a maximum of $5,000.

“We want people working at Amazon who want to be here. In the long term, staying somewhere you don’t want to be isn’t healthy for our employees or for the company,” a spokesperson for Amazon told CNN.

Research has shown that happy workers are 12 percent more productive than unhappy workers. Click To Tweet

A bad attitude is contagious

There’s nothing worse than having to spend a lot of time around a negative or otherwise toxic coworker. Anyone who’s ever done so routinely can testify to the fact that it can be a real drain. Part of the reason for this is that emotions are contagious. Humans are compassionate, and they naturally reflect the attitudes around them. When one person starts complaining about the job, others start to jump on the bandwagon.

Therefore, it stands to reason that weeding out unhappy workers also benefits the workers who choose to stay. They’re gifted with a workplace rich with positive and productive coworkers. In this way, employee engagement and happiness is allowed the space to take root even more firmly.

It seems that everyone, employers and employees (both happy and unhappy alike) have something to gain from policies that pay unhappy workers to quit. What would you do if your company made you such an offer?

Tell Us What You Think

What do you think of company programs that pay unhappy workers to quit? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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