Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers, the gigantic warehouses where employees fill orders and walk 12 to 15 miles per day, may not sound like the most desirable job in tech, but the company is predicting that most employees would rather stick around than take a few thousand dollars to quit. In a letter to shareholders this week, CEO Jeff Bezos detailed a program called “Pay to Quit,” which started at the Amazon-owned shoe company Zappos that asks employees to really consider whether they want to stay at their current job.
Once per year, Amazon will offer several thousand dollars to anyone who wants to leave the company. This first year the offer is $2,000, and it goes up an extra thousand for the next three years before maxing out at $5,000. Bezos hopes Pay to Quit will ensure that only the most devoted employees stick around. “The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,” Bezos said. “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”
Pay to Quit works somewhat differently at Zappos, where customer service employees are offered $3,000 to quit after completing their month-long training program. Amazon’s strategy seems a little more devious, luring Fulfillment Center employees into sticking around several years for a bigger payout in a position that normally sees lots of turnover. Whether the new program actually leads to better conditions and morale for Amazon’s workers is still up for debate, but at least the company’s hard working employees are getting a little something extra for sticking around.