Why It Can Make Sense To Pay Staff To Quit

Paying existing staff a recruitment bonus if they find someone to fill a position is common business practice these days. But how about paying a new staff member to leave if the appointment doesn’t work out?

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Local salary packaging advice company Smartsalary has been experimenting with that approach. CEO Deven Billimoria first heard of the idea being used at online retailer Zappos.com, which offered a payout of up to $US2000 to staff who chose to resign after three months in the job. The essential logic? That payout will encourage people who haven’t fitted in to move on and find a new role, without panicking about a shortage of money while they seek that next job.

That notion appealed to Billimoria. “If you don’t have an engaged workforce everything else you try to do is a waste of time,” he told a media lunch last week. “If you’re going to leave at the end of nine months, you might as well leave at three months and save everyone the aggravation, including us.”

However, adopting the idea took a while. “We thought about this for two years before we introduced it,” Billimoria said.

Since adopting the concept with a $500 payout, Smartsalary has hired around 50 people. Of those, three people have taken it up.

“We do exit interviews and they find it to be a very difficult culture,” Billimoria said. “It’s just too stressful for them. At the end of the day not everybody suits every position.” He is now contemplating lifting the value of the payout.

Ever worked in a job where you’d have been happy to be paid to leave? Share your experience in the comments.

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