Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pay Employees To Quit:
A Public Relations Strategy to Consider

Say you want to staff your call center with friendly, high energy, intelligent people who want to help customers and who enjoy their job. How do you find them? Well, apparently you hire people, train them, then offer them $1,000 to quit. Read this story from Harvard Business Publishing:

“It’s a hard job, answering phones and talking to customers for hours at a time. So when Zappos hires new employees, it provides a four-week training period that immerses them in the company’s strategy, culture, and obsession with customers. People get paid their full salary during this period.”

“After a week or so in this immersive experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls ‘The Offer’. The fast-growing company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!”

“Why? 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.)”

Zappos employees also have no scripts, no call time metrics, and are empowered to do whatever it takes to make them happy.

Now you understand why Zappos pays new employees to quit – and it is a public relations strategy move all companies need to consider.

Technorati Tags: Zappos, Harvard Business Publishing, public relations strategy, commitment, pay to quit, business, communications, public relations


Blogger Robbin Goodman said...

While it seems like it makes sense in a high volume, high turnover business like call centers, with limited career and salary growth opportunities, it doesn't make sense for businesses which have a greater intellectual component and which likely spend an exponentially greater amount of time and care to hire employees. It's kind of a fast food mentality to recruiting and training. A business like this probably has a 100% or greater annual turnover, so if you can vet 10% immediately in the upfront, it's not a big deal. Reportedly Zappos started out offering a $100 bonus to quit, then upped it to $500 and then $1000. My instinct is that the 10% who drop out after a month is about equal to the number that would normally drop out after that period.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 9:45:00 AM  

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