by David Burkus
Possibly the most counterintuitive process to appear in recent years is the idea of paying people to quit their jobs. Not only are some leaders finding it beneficial to company performance, but research suggests these incentives may even have a positive effect on the people who stay.
One benefit of paying people to quit is obvious: It screens out people who would probably end up quitting anyway. In a purely logical world, as soon as people figure out that they’ve made a bad decision in coming to work at a company, they would leave. However, humans are not logical creatures. As such, we’re subject to a cognitive glitch that makes it difficult to quit the things we start. Economists often refer to this as the “sunk costs fallacy.” Sunk costs represent the time, money, or effort we’ve already invested in a course of action. Money has already been spent, and there’s no getting it back whether we continue down the same course or break away and go our separate way.