It might seem like an absurd idea to most, but Amazon thinks that offering their employees as much as $5,000 to quit their jobs will eventually help the company build a stronger and more loyal workforce. But why does one of the biggest companies in the world want to get rid of its workers? The reason will surprise you.
The $5,000 Offer
The layoff trend that was initiated by Zappos is now catching on with companies like Amazon which announced on Monday that it will start executing layoffs in a manner that has never been seen before in the tech world. The company has decided that it wants to offer its employees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to quit their jobs and get paid to do so! The layoffs began at Amazon’s headquarters where offer letters were sent out saying that if the employees were not happy with their jobs, they were allowed to leave with a $5,000 check to find a different opportunity.
According to Amazon, this step was taken to promote happiness and a sense of fulfillment among employees and foster a positive workspace culture inside the company. Anyone who is unhappy with their jobs can take the offer money and walk out the doors of Amazon with an agreement to never return.
Who is the Real Beneficiary?
Amazon spokesperson, Ashley Robinson, says that sometimes, staying is unhealthier than leaving, both, for the company and the employees. However, not everyone is entitled to the $5,000 amount for quitting their jobs. The offer varies from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on how long the employee has been working for the company.
The company has amassed intense criticism in the past due to its strict management style and brutal work culture. Several news reports indicate that Amazon warehouse workers must adhere to strict company rules and meet increasing fulfillment demands which are resulting in high turnover rates. Warehouse workers who have reached out to news agencies say that the pressure of working for Amazon is immense and the company continuously forces employees to work faster or face termination.
Amazon made a statement in its defense, saying that no employee has ever been fired without a good reason and the company values its associates’ wellbeing more than anything else. But does it make sense for a company that is desperately fighting for employee retention to offer its employees thousands of dollars to quit their jobs? To Robinson, it does. She says that the cost of keeping an unhappy and unmotivated employee for a prolonged period of time would eventually cost Amazon more than the amount they are offering.
Companies Using Behavioral-Economics to Make Employees More Productive
Some behavioral economists are analyzing Amazon’s move and speculating that the offer is a smart move on the company’s part in creating a psychological impact on the workers and motivating them to stay for longer. The workers who are able to resist the temptation of taking the $5,000 and leaving the company forever will most definitely work harder to justify their decision and match their behavior to their feelings.
Psychologists agree with the theory that Amazon is trying to put mental pressure on its employees who turn down the $5,000 to rationalize their decisions with their actions by working harder and becoming more loyal to the company. If workers choose not to take the money, it means they don’t want to quit – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they like their job. But due to the enormity of the offer, the choice to pass up on the $5,000 may feel like an investment to them which would eventually compel them to increase their mental commitment to see that investment become profitable.
With Amazon’s recent move, it is clear that more and more companies are using behavioral-economics to retain employees and help them become more motivated. Uber has been using smartphone nudges to push its drivers to accept more rides whereas Google has been experimenting with various techniques to help its employees eat more veggies instead of junk food at the cafeteria.