Like what you see? Join Insider on Nov. 30 for our best deal on an annual membership ever: $19.99 and we give you a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card (while supplies last).
WCPO Insider is a membership bringing you closer to the city you love. As an Insider you receive rewards, stories and access to new experiences across your community.
The company says it uses the program to weed out employees who don't want to be there.
Would you take $5,000 to quit your job? That's the question Amazon asks some of its employees.
There's more to the story when you become an Insider. WCPO Insider's membership is an additional benefit on top of everything you can get for free on WCPO.com. We created an entire digital organization dedicated to bringing you exclusive access to in-depth stories that you can’t get anywhere else, handpicked events, and incredible savings on things you love to do. To find out more click here.
Does anyone really love their job?
Kelly Cheeseman likes to think so.
She’s the spokesperson for Amazon, which implemented a unique program to find out how happy their employees are in their current situation. They offer workers at their fulfillment centers thousands of dollars to get them to quit.
Yes, you read that correctly: they're paid to leave their jobs.
“We offer our employees a program we hope they never take – up to $5,000 to quit,” Cheeseman said.
Cheeseman said the online retail giant uses the “Pay to Quit” program as a way to weed out those who would like to work somewhere else.
“We do it because we want people working at Amazon who want to be here,” she said. “In the long term, we find that staying somewhere you don’t want to be isn’t healthy for our employees or for the company.”
New research shows that professional dissatisfaction is rampant in the United States.
A 2013 University of Phoenix survey found 55 percent of working adults are interested in changing careers. Amongst 20-somethings that number soars to 78 percent.
The premise behind the program originated at Zappos, an Amazon subsidiary, which puts new employees through an intensive four-week training program, Bloomberg Businessweek reports .
In order to gauge their employees' collective experience, Amazon offers the deal once a year to warehouse workers like those at the sprawling campus in Hebron, Ky. Most of those workers are manual laborers who typically box and ship orders.
In the first year of work, the use $2,000 as an incentive. It goes up by $1,000 every year after that until it hits $5,000.
"We know that for some of our fulfillment center employees, Amazon will be a career," CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders. "For others, Amazon might be a stepping stone on the way to a job somewhere else.”
While the deal is sincere, company reps say they don’t want to see anyone go. In fact, on the document itself the headline reads, "Please don't take this offer."
“We tell them right up front we hope you don’t take this offer and that we want them to stay. But we make the offer because we want to encourage our employees to take a moment and think about what they really want," Cheeseman said. "If that’s no longer to be at Amazon, then we want to support them in that."
Cheeseman said a few employees have taken the deal but it’s only a small percentage of the workforce. A CNN Money analysis found it's less than 10 percent of eligible personnel.
Amazon declines to say how much it pays its warehouse workers, although it says it pay about 30 percent more than a typical retail worker, according to the CNN report.
"According to data gathered last year by career website Glassdoor.com, Amazon pays its warehouse workers an average hourly wage of about $12 an hour, which comes to just about $25,000 for a full year. Its full-time workers also get stock grants which Amazon said last year had averaged about 9% of employees' pay."
Some critics say the initiative is one way Amazon is trying to mend fences with warehouse workers who've complained about workplace practices in the past, according to CBS Money Watch .
Regardless of why the program was implemented, Tim Ammer said he thinks the company is on to something.
While he doesn’t work for Amazon, Ammer told WCPO he thinks taking the satisfaction of workers into account is the best thing for all parties involved.
"I've never heard of that before but I think it's a pretty good idea," he said. "If people do want to move on, this gives them the encouragement to do it, and I think it's best for both sides."
People like Kristin Thomas say jobs aren't there for you to “like.” They’re meant to afford a person a certain quality of life when they're not at the office.
"Does anybody really love their job? I don't think so. I think at the end of the day it's what you do so you can survive and live a comfortable lifestyle."
While Thomas’ belief is common, Cheeseman said Amazon is trying to change that perception by creating an environment that allows employees to grow as people and as part of the business.
One of the ways the company says it supports its employees’ professional pursuits is by offering other program called “Career Choice,” which gives workers money to go back to school. The money is available to everyone, even if the career they’re studying isn’t relevant to a career at Amazon, Cheeseman said.
She said the company supports any idea that gets employees invested in the work they do.
“We focus on things we know our employees are going to like” and what they want “and if that’s no longer to be an employee at amazon, we support that.”
So, would you take the $5,000 to quit your job? Comment below.