Sounds like a strategy for failure, doesn’t it? Would you believe a little bribery may deliver better employees for your staff?
If you think only a real screwball of a company could even dream of hiring people, putting them through some training, and then offering them full pay to date plus a bonus to walk off the job, take a look at shoe seller Zappos.
Bill Taylor at Harvard Business Publishing did, finding the astonishing Zappos’ strategy while doing so. Zappos is a billion dollar business, up from $70 million in sales only 5 years ago.
Taylor noted the hiring and bribing strategy in use for Zappos. They put someone through the first stages of customers service training. After that comes The Offer:
The fast-growing company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!
Why? Because if you’re willing to take the company up on the offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for. It’s hard to describe the level of energy in the Zappos culture—which means, by definition, it’s not for everybody.
Roughly one out of ten people grab the cash and head for the exit. That leaves Zappos with people who have motivation to continue, and perhaps feel a connection to the company’s culture.
Such a strategy isn’t for every business. But we’ve long subscribed to the ideas in The Loyalty Effect, including the concept that continually training new people is far more expensive than retaining existing staffers.
Zappos found a way that works for it, to identify those who may be likely to stick around long enough to fit in and operate well within its culture, and its customers by extension. In the long run, the tactic seems to have paid off for the shoe seller.