Friday, May 23, 2008

Quitting Bonus

Online shoe retailer Zappos puts its new hires through a fully-paid four-week training program and then promptly offers them $1000 to quit. WTF?!? Here's WTF:

Because 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. It’s hard to describe the level of energy in the Zappos culture—which means, by definition, it’s not for everybody. 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. (About ten percent of new call-center employees take the money and run.)
I like the cut of that idea's jib. It pisses me off a little that I didn't think of it first, but I am trying to be better than that.

It seems like a very sound approach to weeding out the people who don't, despite their protestations to the contrary, harbor a deep-seated commitment to excellence in the field of taking shoe orders over the internets. It appears to have worked well for Zappos. The idea seems promising for any number of unglamorous jobs where there is a need to distinguish those workers who are just marking time from those who are genuinely trying to do well.

I wish someone at Safeway would offer a generous quitting bonus to the slovenly teenage dingbats who keep shattering the yogurt tubs, bruising the apples, and editorializing on my purchases.

1 comment:

mikesdak said...

I can imagine an unintended consequence of this. I would guess that it would take about a day for a person to realize the job (from what I see, essentially the on-line equivalent of Al Bundy, but with more pressure) isn't for him. But that person might decide to stick it out to get the $1000, costing the company training resources it might not have needed to expend if the person hadn't had the incentive to stick around.