How Online Retailers Get it Right: Zappos pays its employees to quit

21 May

Zappos has a well deserved reputation for taking care of its customers with free over night shipping (including on returns), live agents taking call, no bot emails, etc.  One of the keys to making the company’s philosophy work is with its employees. Before being hired, prospective employees have to show passion….not for shoes…but for anything. Zappos believes that that passion can be transferred to the job and its employees will want to its best asset.

As any company can attest, it’s not always easy to find such people. Zappos goes one step farther…it will pays its employees to quit….

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.)

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