Quit & Stayed, or Quit & Paid?

If you’re not familiar with the term “quit & stayed”, it is the act of mentally quitting, yet staying in the same physical environment. More specifically, it’s the act of becoming disengaged in the work you complete, whether that’s for a business or just in general.

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Chances are that you work with one or more people who have quit & stayed.  They are people who show up just for the paycheck.  They aren’t passionate about their job.  They don’t have the motivation to go above and beyond.  In a perfect world, everyone would get paid handsomely to do what they love, but unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.  Almost every company and organization has employees who fit into this category.

Amazon recently listed this trend in the annual letter to shareholders from company CEO Jeff Bezos along with a plan to deal with employees who have quit & stayed.  The idea behind this plan is that once a year, employees will be offered a payout to quit.  Depending on how many years you’ve been with Amazon, you could make anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for handing in your resignation.   The idea isn’t to create a high turnover rate, but instead, bring in new blood and energy where existing employees may have no interest in maintaining their career with Amazon.
Personally, I’d be curious to know what this does to their turnover rate.  Will they see an uptick in the number of employees who move on to other companies?  More importantly, are they paying adding unnecessary costs by paying employees to resign who might resign in either case even if they weren’t getting a bonus to do so?
Jeff Bezos says it best: “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”  That is one statement I wholeheartedly agree with.

Be sure to take a look at The Ken Blanchard Companies Quit & Stayed Leadership Livecast.  You can even view 17 minutes of the Livecast for free.
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3 thoughts on “Quit & Stayed, or Quit & Paid?

  1. If they are not performing why pay them to leave? I think the case of Amazon is that the majority of the work force are warehouse packaging workers. Basically its indoor farming. How long will people physically and mentally love doing that?

  2. I agree with Jeff Bezos that it isn’t good in the long run for either the employee or the company to have employees stay where they don’t want to be.
    The only thing I miss in the initiative from Amazon is a follow-up approach, i.e. investigating why the employees are unhappy.
    It’s one thing to get rid of a batch of bad apples, but it’s an entirely different thing if there are things (perhaps unknowingly and unintentionally) done by the company itself which causes good apples to go bad.
    Was the wrong people recruited for the positions? If so, what went wrong? Are the jobs correctly designed and profiled to attract the relevant people? What is the impact of the leadership on the culture and climate of the company? What are the employees’ motivators? Paying unhappy employees to quit may solve an immediate negative vibe, but one must be careful not to continue cutting off the seemingly “bad apples” without ever paying attention to the environment in which the apple tree is planted.

  3. Amazon’s approach may seem workable in the short run but I wonder at the type of message it sends to the workforce. For example, does it appear to support the concept that employees are not of fundamental importance to the organization? Does the need to offer departure incentives, particularly if the goal is to attract “fresh blood” reflect a poor approach by Amazon’s leaders to performance management and enhancement? I am curious if this approach also has a negative impact on organizational knowledge. We know from experience that companies who have experienced reductions are frequently left with employees with survivor’s syndrome who are unmotivated or fade into the background to avoid attention. I believe that dealing with and supporting people who have lost motivation or the desire to succeed will reap greater rewards than chasing employees away and replacing them with new people who will, in turn, require an investment of time and money. Would it not send a better message, one of opportunity and growth to try and further develop existing employees. If properly done, performance managing underachievers will either result in improved performance or, a ultimately having them exit the organization. Either way, remaining employees will be encouraged to grow with an expectation that their performance is key to their future and that of their employer.

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