The Secret Behind Zappos Otherworldly Customer Service? Pay Employees To Quit

Say you want to staff your call center with friendly, high energy, intelligent people who want to help customers and who enjoy their job. How do you find them? Well, apparently you hire people, train them, then offer them $1,000 to quit.

From Harvard Business Publishing:

It’s a hard job, answering phones and talking to customers for hours at a time. So when Zappos hires new employees, it provides a four-week training period that immerses them in the company’s strategy, culture, and obsession with customers. People get paid their full salary during this period.

After a week or so in this immersive experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls “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. Zappos wants to learn if there’s a bad fit between what makes the organization tick and what makes individual employees tick—and it’s willing to pay to learn sooner rather than later. (About ten percent of new call-center employees take the money and run.)

Zappos employees also have no scripts, no call time metrics, and are empowered to do whatever it takes to make you happy.

Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit—And You Should Too [Harvard Business Publishing]