United axes its employee bonus program, replaces it with a lottery, saving millions


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/04/labor-lottery.html


United: “meaningful rewards [that] will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment with more bang for the buck”

Okay, are they INTENTIONALLY mimicking EA’s infamous most-hated-internet-comment-ever?

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.


so rather than build a healthy team… set staff in competition…
I think United breaks more than guitars


Employees should hold a company-wide wildcat strike to build a sense of excitement and motivation in the management and shareholders.


All of which will have lovely tax implications, I’m sure. (Which will be the responsibility of the employee to pay, naturally.)


Nothing better than being stuck at 34,000 feet in an aluminum rhinovirus culture tube with sick flight attendants.


But wait, there’s more. In order for an individual employee to be eligible for the lottery, he or she needs to record perfect attendance. Employees who’ve had their $300 per quarter bonus eliminated are now incentivized to show up sick for flights in order to get a chance at a prize.

edit: i wonder how giving birth to a baby counts against attendance.


Couldn’t they at least spring for 87000 sets of steak knives? “Everyone’s a winner!”


Naturally, this innovative new bonus structure does not apply to the CEO and other senior executives.


You mean that this wonderful new bonus system isn’t good enough for the leaders of the company!? But, but, that would mean that all that talk about how wonderful this new bonus system is, is just a pack of disingenuous lies!? My faith in American capitalism has been destroyed forever!!


saving stealing millions.


There’s always norovirus.


No pink Cadillacs?


Same exploitative mechanics, different, more serious, context.


Late-stage capitalism?


It’s too early to say that.


Yeah, I’m okay with winning cash, but winning a $10,000 vacation that I have to pay $3,000 in taxes on doesn’t sound like much of a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a $10,000 vacation, but I’ve never spent $3,000 on a vacation in my life and certainly don’t have that in my budget. And winning a luxury car has long been one of my worst nightmares – something expensive that I won’t use, but that I’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount for even though it is “free.” Winning?


Speaking as a former bonus-earning-employee in the furniture industry, I can say that I was HUGELY motivated by my bonuses. If an employer had tried this nonsense with me I would have been out the door before they finished the sentence. It is effectively a pay cut for top performing employees.

However, for a variety of reasons many of my coworkers rarely earned bonuses. My perception was that the structure of our bonus system was demoralizing them, rather than motivating. United’s structure moves those bonuses even farther beyond reach.

As an entrepreneur, I am not convinced that bonuses incentivize better performance for most employees. I wonder if there are any behavioral psychologists who have studied this, and I wonder if United consulted any before implementing this system. It seems like the sort of thing they’ll walk back after two or three quarters, and also like the sort of thing that will cost the chief evangelist for this system their job.


Is it too optimistic to assume they will distribute the millions saved as profit-sharing to all employees?

it is, isn’t it


I got a lottery ticket as a bonus once. I was so disgusted i threw it away. My friend rescued it and scratched it off. He won nothing.