When I first heard of this unusual Amazon practice -- offering employees $5,000 to quit their jobs -- I had to read it a second time to make sure I had it right. But, I did: Every year, Amazon offers workers in its distribution warehouses up to $5,000 to quit.
Say what? Why would a company offer workers money to quit? Was it, I wondered, kind of a severance deal instead of impending layoffs? It turns out to be something else entirely.
Amazon, which prides itself on customer service, wants to keep only the employees who are truly motivated and want to be there. So, they are offering a cash incentive for those who don’t fit this description to leave.
The idea is that if you don’t really want the job anyway, and you mumble and groan and complain through your work day, then perhaps the offer of such a big chunk of cash will be motivation to leave. This will then let the company replace you with someone who’s a better fit, more positive, and truly accountable for their behaviors and actions.
According to the article on YahooFinance:
“... like many of the unusual practices adopted under Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the pay-to-quit policy is grounded in data. The goal of the offer is to encourage unmotivated and disaffected employees to leave on their own, while making employees who reject the offer feel more dedicated to the job.”
What does the fact that this is a cost-effective policy for Amazon say about the hidden costs of unmotivated, unhappy employees to all businesses?
Intriguing. Innovative. And definitely worthy of a deeper look.
So far, the only companies I’ve heard of who are using this strategy are Amazon and Zappos, which was bought out by Amazon. I suspect it’s unlikely your company will offer you $5,000 to quit.
But I want you to think about what you might say if your boss did make such an offer. Take a long, hard look ...
If you would seriously consider this type of offer, what does that say about your attitude toward your current job, what does it say about your dedication and commitment, and most importantly, what are the ramifications on your current performance?
Epiphany or light bulb moment: If you would rather have the cash buy-out than the job, there’s a very good possibility that you are not putting in your best work. There’s also a very high possibility that you are not in the right place to reach your full potential.
Do those things matter to you?
Then, why not take the bull by the horns? It’s your career, your fulfillment, your life’s journey. If you secretly wish your company would offer you money to leave ... then perhaps you should consider leaving your job under your own steam.
Of course, there’s another option, too...
You could also decide to take accountability for your attitude, your dissatisfaction, and your performance. You could look to see where you might be able to step up, gather your courage, take risks, and make the necessary changes to improve your working conditions and productivity.
What could you do to make your job work for you? How could you change, or instigate practical changes that would give you more fulfillment, more opportunities for growth, and more ways to fully express your unique abilities, skills and talents?
So, now that you've thought about it ... what would you do if you were offered 5K to pack up and leave your job?
Five thousand dollars that will be gone in short order, or a fulfilling career based on your own drive, your own accountability, your own initiative?
You decide. No judgment here ... but I’d love to have your comments!