Why Paying Unhappy Employees $25K to Quit is Crazy 

One of my heroes in life is Bill Bonnstetter, Chairman of TTI Success Insights and Target Training International, and producer of one of the world’s greatest line of assessments available to business today. Bill wrote such an interesting article recently, that I just had to share it.  

Bill knows (and so do we) that it is very possible to ensure an accurate behavioral match between Job and Person, and that we can avoid some of the costly challenges of having people leaving the organization soon after they are hired. Please be sure you don’t miss this week’s Power Idea! I would love to know your feelings about this topic. Please feel free to write to me atJerry@HPISolutions.com and let me know your stance.

How is one company determining whether unhappy employees want to stick around? Dangling cold, hard cash in their face.

Riot Games, Inc. is offering up to $25,000 for employees to up and leave the company, no questions asked, within 60 days of employment if they are unhappy in their jobs.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based videogame maker believes simply throwing money at the problem and shooing unhappy employees out the door will solve their talent apocalypse.

“Rather than allow mismatches to fester, we want to resolve them quickly,” Riot Games explained in their announcement. “This is good for the company, and good for the professional.”

Riot Games isn’t alone in this farcical proposal.

Their offer comes on the heels of similar enticements by Internet retailers Zappos.com and Amazon.com, which pay employees $2,000 and $5,000, respectively, if they opt to quit.

Problem is, these pay-to-quit strategies aren’t solving anything.

If Riot Games is willing to pay a sum commensurate to someone’s annual salary just to get rid of them, how much would they be willing to pay someone to ensure they’re a proper fit from the onset?

Riot Games is almost guaranteed to see a revolving door of employees deciding a sudden $25,000 windfall is worthier than being locked into a game of chicken, where each player – employee or employer – is waiting to see who will act first.

There are better ways to ensure people aren’t just sticking around for a paycheck.

Regrettably, Riot Games is treating the symptom and not the cause, and interestingly, could have the right person in their doors but merely in the wrong position.

If only Riot Games took the time to determine a proper fit from the get go – hiring shouldn’t be a personality contest – or worked with employees to see where their talents could be put to better use.

Hiring right the first time through a benchmark approach, and using validated assessments, is an inexpensive way to achieve maximum performance.

As we say here at TTI: If the job could talk, it would explain precisely what was necessary to achieve superior performance. We could ask it to tell us about the:

  • Knowledge a person needs
  • Personal attributes required to drive success
  • Rewards for superior performance
  • Hard skills vital for the job
  • Behaviors necessary to perform at peak levels
  • Intrinsic motivators

Because if companies like Riot Games don’t have a plan in place to bring in the right people who are energized and dedicated from Day 1, then they are simply throwing money out the window.