Why It Can Make Sense To Pay Staff To Quit

Why It Can Make Sense To Pay Staff To Quit
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

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?

Currency picture from Shutterstock

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.


  • I was once about to resign after six months on a job, but got retrenched, three days before the date I was going to tender my resignation. I was paid out two months and didn’t have to work any of it. It was like winning the lottery.

    Many years earlier my employers were subject to a hostile take-over and most of my colleagues were quickly given their marching orders. I’d written mission-critical software and the new management wanted me to stay, but I didn’t want to continue in such an unpleasant environment, and managed to get a good payout.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!