Paying Employees To Quit

Do you have a poor performer on your team? A team member that doesn’t pull their weight and drags the rest of the team down? How much would the teams’ productivity increase if they weren’t at the company? What about the team member, would they actually be happier with a different organization?


How much is it all worth?


David Burkus, speaker, podcaster and author of The Myths of Creativity and Under New Management suggests paying employees to quit.  Offering that poor performing team member a lump sum to quit. Giving them the option to leave with some help or stay. Maybe you’ve spent hours coaching them and helping but it’s still not working. Could paying them to leave be the next step? They know it’s not working. You know it’s not working. This could be a more personal and human way to part ways. Giving the choice. Giving the option.


David points out two benefits to paying a team member to quit.


First, he points out that with this as a strategy employees truly WANT to work at the organization. Those employees that don’t want to stay with the company, that aren’t engaged and aren’t motivated, have a choice.


“Become the kind of company that you’re advocating that we become, where people want to work there, where you enroll people etc. You also need to be a company that people are proud to have worked at, not just actually work at. I talked about this a bit in the last chapter on ‘Celebrating Departures’, but if they don’t take the money that you’re paying to quit, you can’t celebrate their departure.”  David points out that those who leave, “walk away with a positive experience about it and that makes it a place where she’s more likely to be proud to be from”.


The second benefit that David highlights is with team members that stick around and choose to stay.


“If I offer you a ton of money then you don’t leave, well, now you’ve got all sorts of subtle confirmation biases going on in your subconscious that help reinforce why it was worth the money to stay”. A team member who sticks around would be more committed, more willing to work on their gaps and possibly even increase their productivity.


The next time you’re having trouble with a team member, consider paying them to leave.



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