Once a year, Amazon offered the ‘Pay to Quit’ option in an effort to retain passionate and committed employees.

Known for his unconventional leadership approaches, Jeff Bezos launched an innovative programme at Amazon in 2014 to keep devoted workers who wished to advance their careers at the internet behemoth. The millionaire promised workers up to $5,000, or roughly Rs 4.1 lakh, in exchange for leaving the business. The ‘Pay to Quit’ incentive was introduced to guarantee that they had a committed and motivated team.

“Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit,”  Bezos stated. “The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is ‘Please Don’t Take This Offer.’ We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay.”

However, the creator of Amazon explained his decision to present the temptation, saying, “The idea is to get people to stop and consider what they really want.” An employee who stays somewhere they don’t want to be is ultimately bad for both the firm and the individual.”

Prior to Jeff Bezos’s adoption, the concept was first presented by Los Angeles-based online store Zappos. Typically, the “offer” was offered once a year following busy times, such as the Christmas holidays, to help employees prepare for the ensuing lull.

Uri Gneezy, a behavioural economist, called the tactic “remarkably effective.” “In many organisations, dissatisfied employees have no reason to disclose their true sentiments, but you can incentivize them to do so by offering them money to resign, making it costly for them to be dishonest,” he stated in the Harvard Business Review.

One outcome of this strategy is that those who stay are more motivated, of course. But an additional benefit is that those who stay feel the need to justify that decision to themselves — which they typically do by working harder toward longer-term objectives,”  If they decline the offer, they will put it towards their future employment with the company,” he continued. “This boosts their productivity and commitment.”

However, the internet giant discontinued the course last year due to manpower shortages amid the worldwide e-commerce rise spurred by the Covid epidemic, and it is currently only available to graduates of its Career Choice upskilling programme. The ‘Pay to Quit’ offer is open “to graduates of Career Choice to support their transition to a new career should they choose to leverage their new certifications.”

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