Cultivate culture by… Paying new employees to leave?

by Sarah Megginson02 Apr 2014
As all HR practitioners know, it’s important to create a strong, positive and motivating workplace culture – but it’s not enough for HR simply to facilitate it. You also have to fiercely protect your workplace’s culture at all costs, even if it means your recruitment budget takes a hit.
This is the philosophy of online retailer Zappos, which offers new employees $2,000 to quit – and it seems to be paying off for them.
“We really want everyone at Zappos to be here because they want to be, and because they believe in the culture. If they know they don't quite mesh with our culture, we don't want them to feel stuck here, so we give them an option,” they stated.
The offer has been increased from $1,000 a few years back, but even now at a tantalising $2,000, Zappos report that fewer than 2% of all employees accept. As a result, their policy serves as a cost-effective way to protect their organisational culture and weed out dud recruits before they get too firmly entrenched in the business.
“When you think about culture, it’s made up of motivation and behaviour, and you need to get your design right in order to create a strong culture,” said motivation strategy and design expert, Dr Jason Fox.
“Zappos know that people who are not connected to their values and culture will take the money and leave, but that’s ok, because they’re not the type of people Zappos want to recruit.”
The company is so committed to creating a positive and motivating work environment that they execute a number of small yet significant motivational design strategies, he added.
“They want the work culture to be amazing and they want staff to know each other. So each morning, as an employee logs in, a photo of a new co-worker pops up, prompting them to guess their name. It’s a way of encouraging their staff to get to know everyone they work with,” Fox said.
“They also have an annual culture book where every employee can submit photos or text or drawings, anything really that they feel reflects the playful culture of the organisation.”
What are you doing to create a strong and positive workplace culture in your organisation? And would you pay a new employee $2,000 to quit, if you quickly realised they were actually the wrong fit?


  • by Bec 2/04/2014 3:52:26 PM

    Am I missing something? Isn't this why you have a qualifying period?!

  • by Kate 3/04/2014 10:31:27 AM

    Let's face it - a lot of managers don't have the balls to let people go during probation/qualifying, even though they say they're not right. How many times have we seen managers keep the wrong person on purely to have a bum on a seat, rather than making the tough decision? I think this process takes away some of that manager responsibility. Still, if it ultimately means you have the right people in the Company then good on them for doing it.

  • by HR Dude 4/04/2014 12:32:53 PM

    Its an american company, wouldnt have thought they have qualifying periods over there.

Most Read