Thursday, January 07, 2016

Don't let the door hit your wallet on the way out, it might dislodge $10K

Back when I was someone's employee other than mysyelf, I worked for a number of years in a company that informally offered some departing employees what they called a "re-entry visa." It went like this: We understand that a valuable employee might want to try something different and new. But if it doesn't work out, and we have room for them, they can come back, no questions asked. All is forgiven.

It looks like there's at least one company out there that's taking another approach to rewarding employees they like, even when they're on the way out the door.

Adore Me is an online lingerie retailer. Julie Tracy had been working there for three years, and wanted to travel. At her going away party, the company gave her something more tangible than a re-entry visa, and more valuable than a wallet (which was a going-away gift I was once given). They gave her a check for $10K. Adore Me follwed this up with another $10K for another departing worker, one who was movig cross-country. 

Adore Me has no rules for who-gets-it-who-doesn't, but I will note that neither of these employees is leaving for a better job, let alone moving to a competitor. Tracy is traveling, the other person's heading West. 
Like many popular benefits these days, the generous parting gift is an attempt to signal the existence of a positie company culture, both to employees who stay behind and those yet to come. The type of organization that gives loyal, hard-working employees a pile of money is, in theory, a desirable place to work. (Source: Bloomberg)
Adore Me's CEO, Morgan Hermand-Waiche, is one who's betting that the farewell check perk will be good for morale. At a time when recruitment and retention are important corporate concerns, he believes that this move signals that Adore Me is a great place to work, one that "treats its workers well." He thinks that the rewarded ex-employees will spread the word, and refer friends back to the company. Futher, Adore Me may feel that it's a motivator: work hard and be a good doo-bee while you're here, and we'll put a little extra something in your wallet when you decide to go.

As befits a startup, Adore Me already offers plenty of perks: "Monday morning breakfast, in-0ffice yoga, and free cab rides home for employees who stay late." So they already have "treats its workers well" bennies on the books. Why go the extra $10K mile?

To me, it just seems a bit odd to reward someone who's heading out the door. I suspect that a company might be able to get better mileage out of rewarding those who are staying put. 

A counter approach is companies like Zappos and Amazon that have "offered "Pay to Quit" deals - but those are aimed at unhappy employees, whom companie want to buy out because they tend to be bad workers." 

Hmmmm. If they're bad workers, wouldn't you just, like, fire them or lay them off? That's how we used to handle it back in my day. That and pray that they'd quit. In any case, it never occurred to someone to pay someone when they were leaving. Sheet cake, flowers, and a modest gift (say, a wallet), well that was about it.

Oh, these modern business folks!

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