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Businesses live and die by the usability of their services, writes Continuum’s Rick McMullen. But how do they know when there’s a serious problem?

“The worst thing you can do to an adult is make them feel stupid.”

Old News: Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit

Zappos.com Logo

Just dug this up from the Internet graveyard, but it’s a good one about how Zappos employees are given the opportunity to quit and get paid for it, an ingenious idea that helps save the company time with employees that aren’t committed. Here’s a snippet of the article, with a video below presented by the Harvard Business Review and their interview with Bill Taylor, a co-founder of Fast Company.

After a week or so in this immersive experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls “The Offer.” The fast-growing company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: “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.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!

Why? Because if you’re willing to take the company up on The Offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for. 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.)

Go on and read more to see the video associated with this, and a link to an awesome customer service email someone received from them.

Just as a FYI, as of June 11, 2010 - Zappos increased The Offer to quit to $2,000 - but let me know if you can find out if it’s been bumped up since then!

And, for the awesome email, you don’t have to look any further - just click here!

So, have you ever been with a company that does something like this?