United Airlines reconsiders swapping employee bonuses with lottery

United Airlines reconsiders swapping employee bonuses with lotteryā€¯

"Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you", Kirby said in a memo to employees obtained by Reuters.

United Airlines (UAL) on Monday said it was "pressing the pause button" on a lottery-like program that was set to replace its quarterly bonus program, a move that angered many employees.

Hundreds of United employees signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of bonuses - and the airline was skewered for trying to peddle the lottery as a step up in worker compensation when, in reality, it was a cost-saving measure.

"United could have been more thoughtful and strategic about creating a bonus program designed to drive the kind of employee behavior and attitudes with the power to reinforce the company's commitment to customers", Garbor says.

According to the Chicago Business Journal, which first broke the news, a lottery bonus system called "core4 Score Rewards" would instead be put in place. He pledged to solicit feedback from employee groups after staunch opposition to his plan to replace steady payouts with high-stakes drawings for prizes including $100,000 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans. Of roughly 500 comments I read, four were positive (and three of those were from the company's vice president for human resources, responding to the negative comments).

The company noted a requirement for "perfect attendance" in order for employees to qualify for the bonus, which some employees took this to mean no sick days. Other employees stated that the lottery system does not appeal to them and could thus opt out of participating simply by not doing a good job.

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These were posted on the internal United Airlines employee website, Flying Together.

"When no one "qualifies" because they called out sick due to the most terrible flu in years, or sick children, or life ... the company just makes more money for itself", she wrote.

The rewards program also drew ire in more public social-media forms, with some taking to Twitter to question the logic behind it. United Continental has about 88,000 employees. The memo announcing the program reportedly said a maximum of 1,361 employees would receive a bonus each quarter. Last year, the company paid out $87m in such rewards.

Since announcing our planned changes to the quarterly operations incentive program, we have listened carefully to the feedback and concerns you've expressed.

Scott Kirby, president of the Chicago-based airline, said United was "pressing the pause button" on changes that would have handed out much larger bonuses - including vacations and luxury cars - but to only a fraction of its workers.

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