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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Amazon Paying Employees To Quit

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s quite a concept. Paying people to quit their job. And I’m not talking about corporate buyouts or early retirements.

Amazon does this to every employee in its fulfillment centers, as they call them, and they do it every year.

The program is actually called “pay to quit” and it encourages employees who are not committed to their jobs to leave the company.

In their first year, the offer is $2,000 in severance pay. It then goes up $1,000 a year until it reaches $5,000.

Just to quit.

And this is not a new idea. Amazon got the idea from the online retailer Zappos, which Amazon bought about 5 years ago. Zappos was known for pioneering programs like this on the premise that corporate culture counts, and that when employees are happy, they will stay right where they are.

USA Today reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos described the program in his latest letter to shareholders, but it’s unclear exactly how it’s working.

But I can tell you it was proven to be very effective at Zappos. I had the chance to interview the company’s founder Tony Hsieh shortly after the Amazon buyout. He told me that almost no one took the offer, maybe two or three-percent, that’s it.

The theory is it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. This helps to weed out the rotten ones. And in the process create a workforce with higher morale.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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