United Walks Back New Bonus Lottery System that Angered Employees

Ashley Carr
March 7, 2018

United announced to employees March 2 that the company planned to change its company-wide employee bonuses from a quarterly payment (of up to $375) based on the airline meeting operational goals to a quarterly lottery system, in which only employees with a ideal attendance record could participate.

The "core4 Score Rewards", which was referenced in the memo was introduced to make the United employees a bit caring when they carried out their duties daily in the airlines.

The response on social media and internal corporate message boards was swift and angry, with commentary recorded from a range of United employees pointing out flaws and inequities in the new program.

"As we look to continue improving, we took a step back and chose to replace the quarterly operational bonus and flawless attendance programs with an exciting new rewards program called core4 Score Rewards", Kirby wrote. The grand prize would have been a $100,000 bonus payment while other prizes included new cars, vacations and cash payments starting at $2,000.

It would have been available only to workers with a flawless attendance record and when the airline met certain performance targets.

The lottery would have caused a majority of the airline's 90,000 workers to lose bonuses that paid up to $1,500 over the course of the year.

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"The employee group that would have been eligible for those bonuses was much larger" than that of the lottery system, Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a phone interview.

"Awful idea", "insulting", "not cool" were among the reactions from United employees - part of some 500 comments posted to United's employee website that were reviewed by Inc. Other employees would have gotten prizes including 50 vacation packages or 10 Mercedes.

"When no one "qualifies" because they called out sick due to the most very bad flu in years, or sick children, or life ... the company just makes more money for itself", she wrote. The memo announcing the program reportedly said a maximum of 1,361 employees would receive a bonus each quarter. United Continental has about 88,000 employees.

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

Deb Garbor, chief executive of Sol Marketing, says United executives "clearly didn't think through their how employees might react, and they didn't hold their own corporate culture in high regard".

Kirby said Monday that United is now halting these changes to consider employee feedback, though he did not specify when the airline expects to have a decision about their next move.

Other reports by My Hot News

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