Amazon Pays Workers $5K to Quit

Strategy is to keep only employees who truly want to stay

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 10, 2014 5:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent out his annual letter to shareholders this week, and Business Insider takes note of one part in particular about the company's "Pay to Quit" program. Amazon offers some employees up to $5,000 to leave, and Bezos explains that the principle is "pretty simple":

  • "Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is 'Please Don’t Take This Offer.' We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company."

The Tennessean fills in some gaps: The offer is good only for employees in the company's "fulfillment centers"—the warehouses where all those online orders get packed and shipped. A spokeswoman tells the paper that only a "small percentage of employees take the offer." The Huffington Post, meanwhile, notes that many of those warehouse workers are part-timers, and it's unclear whether they would qualify for the deal. Still, it's an interesting idea, writes Max Nisen at Quartz, and it shows how Bezos isn't afraid to experiment to improve his workforce.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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