How much should you offer employees to Pay to Quit?

We’re all familiar with concept of getting the right people on the bus before you even think about embarking on any sort of challenge but how many times have you wished you could get the wrong ones off at the next stop just a little bit faster?

Depending on the employment laws where you are, this can be pretty tricky, particularly when you wish to demonstrate you’ve tried everything reasonable to find the right seat or get the person to a place where they “get it” and are capable of operating in your organisation.

Buried at the bottom of this Guardian article I read that Amazon have apparently hit upon the genius idea of Pay to Quit : simply offering a standing $2000 to anyone that wants to quit.

Pay to Quit is a brilliant and honest shortcut to the problem. Some enterprising HR analyst has probably sat down and calculated the cost to the organisation of managing a person through to the point where the problem solves itself and then averaged that figure out over the entire subset of employees who are a questionable fit.

In the real world of HR there are obviously grey options one can employ to just move people on. The problem is they typically cost a reasonable multiple of salary to make it happen and they can be fraught with legal issues if not done correctly.  These options and compromises also typically happen well beyond the point of no return when the emotional stakes are raised.

Offering Pay-to-Quit in such an open fashion might actually average out to be a cheaper route because wavering employees can probably be tipped over the edge earlier, choosing to jump early and saving everybody a huge amount of effort and energy.

What’s interesting to me is if one were to aggregate the average minimum Pay to Quit values¬† across different companies, my guess is that higher values would probably have quite a good correlation with employee satisfaction and engagement metrics.

Try it now, what would your number be to just walk away? Would the people around you have the same number?

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About Robin Wilson

I spent 13 years at the UK's number one property website creating and managing multi-million pound digital products across the full lifecycle, from strategy, product design and development to implementation and operational management. I'm passionate about embedding great culture rooted in responsibility and systems thinking when building teams.