Cultivate firm culture by...paying people to leave?

Considering how important firm culture can be, should firms pay employees to leave if they are a bad fit?

As Australasian Lawyer recently reported, firm culture is the number one reason partners give for leaving a firm and choosing another.

It's well-known how important it is for firms to create a strong, positive and motivating workplace culture if they want to retain talent.
But it’s not enough to expect the HR department to facilitate it.  Firms need to fiercely protect their workplace culture at all costs, even if it means their recruitment budgets take a big hit.

This is the philosophy of online retailer Zappos which offers new employees $2,000 to quit – and it seems to be paying off for them.

“We really want everyone at Zappos to be here because they want to be, and because they believe in the culture. If they know they don't quite mesh with our culture, we don't want them to feel stuck here, so we give them an option,” they stated.

The offer has been increased from $1,000 a few years back, but even now at a tantalising $2,000, Zappos report that fewer than 2% of all employees accept.

As a result, their policy serves as a cost-effective way to protect their organisational culture and weed out dud hires before they get too firmly entrenched in the business.

“When you think about culture, it’s made up of motivation and behaviour, and you need to get your design right in order to create a strong culture,” said motivation strategy and design expert, Dr Jason Fox.

“Zappos know that people who are not connected to their values and culture will take the money and leave, but that’s ok, because they’re not the type of people Zappos want to recruit.”

The company is so committed to creating a positive and motivating work environment that they execute a number of small yet significant motivational design strategies, he added.

“They want the work culture to be amazing and they want staff to know each other. So each morning, as an employee logs in, a photo of a new co-worker pops up, prompting them to guess their name. It’s a way of encouraging their staff to get to know everyone they work with,” Fox said.

“They also have an annual culture book where every employee can submit photos or text or drawings, anything really that they feel reflects the playful culture of the organisation.”

Read more about partner satisfaction here.
What else can firms do to create a strong workplace? Should firms ever pay employees to quit?

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