If you're a massive video game company and you just hired a bunch of staff, what do you do? If you're Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, you offer to pay them to quit. Sounds weird, right?
The new program established by Riot Games is called "Queue Dodging" and they are basically offering new hires cash to quit. Any new hire in North America (for now) has the opportunity to "queue dodge" at any time during their first 60 days. Those who elect to quit will be paid 10 percent of their annual salary, up to $25,000 for this.
In a post explaining the program, Riot insists they don't want to "actively push people out or dare them to leave." Rather, the purpose of this program is to reinforce Riot's culture.
"From the beginning, we’ve focused on culture. We operate on a foundation of shared mission, values, passion, trust, and mutual respect. If someone gags on the unique flavor of our culture, they’d be doing themselves and the company a disservice to hang on just for the paycheck," Riot explains. "Culturally aligned people and teams are more effective, and alignment around mission and values allows us to better serve players. We’ve designed Queue Dodge to help self-identified mismatches move on in an open, positive, and constructive way. "
The program also gives new employees who realize they may not be a perfect fit for the company "a well-lit, safe exit path."
"We carefully vet every new hire through a rigorous interview process, but that’s not enough to ensure a great fit every single time. Rather than allow mismatches to fester, we want to resolve them quickly. This is good for the company, and good for the professional. We don't know yet how many people might choose to Queue Dodge, but we’ll learn from this and make better hiring decisions as a result."
Surprisingly, Riot Games isn't he first company to do this. Online retailer Zappos offered a similar program to its workers, paying those who quit $2,000. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explained at the time that the company wants to make sure its workers are "here for more than just a paycheck. We want people that believe in our long term vision and want to be a part of our culture."
League of Legends rise to the top has pushed Riot Games into rockstar status among game developers. It's the cool place to be. But even though the company is much larger than it was in the past, I applaud them for attempting to retain their initial culture. As for their long term plans? I assume it involves growing League of Legends into the ultimate eSport.