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Zappos Tells New Employees: Please Go Away

Online retailer Zappos is getting attention and kudos for a unique take on how to hire employees who "get it." At Harvard Business Publishing, Bill Taylor reports that after a week of high-intensity training, Zappos call center employees get The Offer: "If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you've worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus."

Why? Taylor thinks the practice weeds out the uncommitted.

It's hard to describe the level of energy in the Zappos culture--which means, by definition, it's not for everybody. Zappos wants to learn if there's a bad fit between what makes the organization tick and what makes individual employees tick--and it's willing to pay to learn sooner rather than later. (About ten percent of new call-center employees take the money and run.)
With 1,600 employees, 1,500 brands, $800 million in sales last year, and core values that include humility, growth, and a mandate to "create fun and a little weirdness," Las Vegas-based Zappos and its Twitter-loving CEO Tony Hsieh are doing more than just selling tons of shoes. Zappos employees say they have fun talking to customers and enjoy learning new things. "This is not some place that you wake up and you're dreading," says Derek, whose previous gigs include a stint as a lucha libre wrestler in Mexico.

What's the point of this $1,000 parting gift? Loyalty? Passion? Weeding out people motivated by money? Would you take this bonus? Would you offer it to new employees? Hit the comment button and let me know what you think.

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