Paying workers to quit is good strategy

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, announced in his annual letter to shareholders that the company is offering its warehouse workers up to $5,000 to quit their jobs:

“We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. 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” program is part of a larger employee empowerment strategy, which also includes development programs (Amazon will pay 95% of tuition for employees to take courses for in-demand fields) and flexible work locations for customer service support team members who need or prefer to work from home.

Giants like Amazon and Google often make headlines for their approaches to improving employee satisfaction; while there is no way to directly measure the relationship between a company’s workforce strategy and financial performance, the focus on organizational culture at both organizations suggests that employee engagement is a powerful new tool for business growth.

Bezos writes in his letter that Amazon wants “to find better ways to do things internally – things that will both make us more effective and benefit our thousands of employees around the world.”

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