Amazon is lauded as one of the world’s most innovative companies – consistently benchmarked by organisations around the world for their ideas and initiative. This year, in his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos again impressed with a range of cutting-edge ideas, aiming to improve customer experience, product initiatives, and introducing new technologies which could be set to again disrupt established services.
However it was the implementation of a policy “Pay -to Quit“, already used by one of Amazon’s acquired companies Zappos, that drew the most attention. The idea behind Pay to Quit seems counter intuitive, offering your employees $2000 to quit the company once a year, which is increased by $1000 each time, capping at $5000. The reasoning behind this policy reflects the changing dynamic within modern organisations.
The idea that work is “simply business” no longer resonates with employees and managers alike. In today’s changing business landscape, employee dedication, engagement and investment in their jobs are crucial for the success of a business. Times have changed, there are now ample job opportunities, open platforms where professional grievances can be broadcast, and constant pressure to draw creative and innovative contributions from all employees – paying staff to simply be productive and efficient is no longer enough.
Companies need to ensure that those who work for them are happy to be there and want to contribute, “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company”. The Pay-to-Quit policy acts as a “performance review of the company by its employees”, enabling staff at all levels to reflect on whether they want to recommit to the company and their colleagues.
“A company’s capacity to create economic value for its customers connects directly to its ability create a sense of meaning and camaraderie…at every level of the organisation.”
Bezos also stressed that the Pay-to-Quit policy was not to isolate and denounce those employees who take the offer; but instead acknowledges that great companies “stand for something special, different and distinctive”, and that vision will not always align with everyone.
Read the full HBR Article Why Amazon Is Copying Zappos and Paying Employees to Quit