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07 March 2018, 11:39 | Vickie Mathis
United Said It'll Give Out $100K Prize. Workers Despise the Idea
On Monday, Kirby said the company is "pressing the pause button" on the new bonus system in response to employee "feedback and concerns" in a follow-up email to employees the company provided to Business Insider.
United Airlines is rethinking a plan to replace its modest monthly bonuses with a lottery system that would have offered large rewards to a few workers at random.
United, which has more than 80,000 employees, did not respond to specific questions about either the lottery program or the current bonus program.
"As we look to continue improving, we took a step back and chose to replace the quarterly operational bonus and ideal attendance programs with an exciting new rewards program called "core4 Score Rewards", Kirby reportedly wrote in the memo.
The airlines is eliminating its quarterly performance bonus system and has brought in an unconventional lottery system, which would include prizes like vacation, cars and cash among other gifts, reports Fortune Magazine.
A discussion on the airline's internal forum, obtained by the travel website The Points Guy, included hundreds of comments about the lottery. Laurie Vesalo, who is a flight attendant at United Airlines wrote a petition titled "Make United Airlines Great Again", which outlined the various complaints of the employees.
The overwhelming majority of United's 90,000 workers would have lost bonuses that paid up to $1,500 over the course of the year.
Inc.com also quoted a study by PayScale that posited United employees have been receiving bonuses ranging anywhere from $63 to $7,589, which could be in jeopardy once the lottery-style system is put into place. The bonuses were given to United's 24,000 flight attendants, its pilots and gate agents, and others, she said.
Many consumers criticized the move on social media, and both journalists and analysts ridiculed the program. Chicago-based United employs about 88,000 personnel worldwide.
Now, United says it is "pressing the pause button" on the program as it reviews employee feedback.
The lottery system, with about $18 million in rewards per year available for rank-and-file workers, may have cost the company far less. We will be reaching out to workgroups across the company and the changes we make will better reflect your feedback.
Though internal programs should support your organization's mission statement, vision and goals, this crisis can stand as a lesson for communicators to consider employee needs when implementing a program-not just numbers.
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