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Amazon workers $5,000: Unhappy workers paid to quit, but how many take offer?

Amazon pays up to $5,000 to unhappy to leave their jobs and you'd be surprised how many folks take them up on the offer.
Amazon pays up to $5,000 to unhappy to leave their jobs and you'd be surprised how many folks take them up on the offer.
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Unhappy workers taint the workplace and the end result is often low production and a toxic environment. Amazon recognizes the importance of the folks working for them actually wanting to be there and not spending day after day begrudging their job. This huge employer adopted the policy of sending around a memo once a year offering up to $5,000 if you quit your job, according to the Los Angeles Times on April 12.

Folks that have been with Amazon for a year are offered $2,000 and another $1,000 is added for each additional year that you’ve been with the company. The exit incentive caps out at $5,000 for workers who have been with Amazon for five years or more. You might think that this would spawn a high turnover of workers, but only about two to three percent of Amazon's workforce actually take them up on this exit incentive.

This offer to quit your job for money is presented in a positive manner. The memo starts out with the headline, “Please Don’t Take This Offer,” which right there gives employees a feeling that they are appreciated. Paying folks to leave their jobs gets rid of dead wood and leaves room for new workers who tend bring enthusiasm with them.

According to Yahoo News, this offer to pay employees to leave their jobs is not unique. It was actually the company Zappos, the online shoe site, that was acquired by Amazon in 2009 who started this bizarre but useful exit strategy for unhappy workers. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is cutting edge when it comes nurturing a healthy and happy work environment.

This workplace pay to exit incentive is the brainchild of Hsieh, which is used at Zappos along with other innovative policies to keep the workers functioning as happy campers. Zappos’ customer service is a step above the rest with reps even offering customers names of competitor websites that carry the product they are looking for if Zappos is out of stock of the item.

Amazon employs over 117,000 people with the majority of that number working in one of their 96 distribution centers worldwide. Any given year they see only two percent to three percent of the employees take the money and run. Hsieh wrote a book called “Delivering Happiness,” which details the strategy he uses to create a workplace that is just plain happy!