Discouraged employees are being paid to leave their jobs

All managers know that disgruntled and unsatisfied employees can be a burden on an office. Now, some companies are going so far as to pay those employees so that they’ll leave to find other jobs. This offers an essential lesson to both employers and employees: when workers find themselves stuck in positions they’re not engaged in, everyone loses.

According to a recent report from Yahoo Finance, Amazon and Zappos, among other companies, now pay cash to employees who want to quit. Zappos gives its unhappy employees $2,000 to quit, while Amazon’s fulfillment center pays out $5,000 to dissatisfied workers should they elect to leave their jobs—giving workers an incentive to leave their post, if they find themselves disengaged.

“The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, explained to the news outlet. “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

The news offers startling implications for employers: unhappy employees may be dragging productivity down to such a degree that it’s worth paying them to leave. Yahoo Finance cited figures provided by Gallup showing that companies where more than 9 out of 10 employees are totally satisfied make on average 147 percent more in earnings per share than their competitors who do not. That explains why offices employing unmotivated workers might think it’s worth the cost to pay those employees to quit their jobs, and to apply for new positions at other companies or in other industries.

For employees, the news offers an illustration that quitting isn’t an immoral act
This also offers a helpful lesson to employees, too: quitting isn’t an outright negative behavior. If you’re on the hunt for great hedge fund jobs or technology positions, but are worried about leaving your current position, you shouldn’t worry anymore. Stephen Dubner, of the Freakonomics blog, explained to the news outlet that “there’s no shame in quitting.”

“We are trained to think that quitting is morally a bad thing and that we’re bad people when we quit,” Dubner told Yahoo Finance. “For most of us we’re working on a job or a project or a relationship where we’ve put in a lot of sunk costs and think ‘therefore we need to keep it going or we’re failures and we’re miserable.’ …There’s no shame in quitting because you can’t get to the next good success if you’re not willing to abandon today’s dud.”

If you’re looking to ascertain whether it’s time to encourage your employees to work elsewhere — or if you’re an employee whose not quite sure how dissatisfied you are — check out Business 2 Community’s article on the “13 Personality Traits of a Disengaged Employee.” It tells us that if you’re making excuses, gossiping, or engaging in any of the 11 other listed traits, then it may be time to leave and apply for new jobs — whether or not you’re being offered a buyout.