Leadership Between the Lines

Would you pay your people to quit?

It's an interesting concept. In yesterday's Chicago Tribune there was an article about Zappos.com and how they make sure they have the most engaged, committed and customer oriented employees...they pay them cash to quit. That's right, they literally give them the opportunity to "take the money and run" one week into their training with the company.

After the first week of new employee training, they offer new hires a good chunk of change to leave if they feel it's not the right fit. Interestingly enough, most people don't quit. They stick. And they like it. The impact: employees who are engaged, highly motivated and committed to their jobs, providing fantastic customer experiences. And that means greater revenue and profits which explains this organization's rapid growth and the attitude quoted by many of "You couldn't pay me to quit."

Makes me wonder what happens behind the scenes in that first week that has people stick so well. I make up that even the bold gesture of offering this kind of "choice," inspires employees to be even more a part of something innovative and connected. Even the act of saying "We want you to feel really good about being here, and if it's not the right fit, we want you to go, and here's additional compensation for your time and energy and giving it an honest shot" speaks volumes to the organization's commitment and the environment they intend to create.

With their creative ways of building an engaged workforce, I expect we'll be seeing more and more of them. I'm new to Zappos AND just knowing how they're engaging people behind the scenes makes me want to buy shoes or a bag or wallet from them...

Would your people quit if you offered them cash? How do you engage them, making their job so meaningful, fun and rewarding, that they'd turn down cash to leave? Think about your team right now...Do they care about what you're up to? What the company is up to? Do they see the connection between the work they do and how it impacts the bottom line? Do they know you full heartedly want them to full heartedly be a part of the team? What's one thing you can do to raise engagement? One thing that would invite them to elevate their commitment to you, your organization and what your team is all about? It's worth thinking about.