Queue Dodge: Riot paying new hires 10 percent of their annual salary to quit

Queue Dodge at Riot

A decade ago, I quit my job as an Assistant Manager at Blockbuster (who?) and jumped into a marketing job at the recommendation of my girlfriend at the time. It was one of the worst job moves I ever made. I got more money, but the job was soul-sucking, the atmosphere was unfriendly and there were none of the perks that I enjoyed at the previous job. But I stayed, because I needed the money. My work suffered, of course.

If I’d been working for Riot, things would have been very different – beyond the obvious stuff, of course. The League of Legends developer has initiated a new scheme called the “Queue Dodge,” where new hires are offered money to quit. Riot says this is a reinforcement of its culture. 

“Now, we don’t want to actively push people out or dare them to leave, but we do want to provide a well-lit, safe exit path,” says Riot.

Basically, Riot wants the right type of people: the ones who want to be part of the culture the developer has created, not the folk who’ll just stick around for the paycheque. “Culturally aligned people and teams are more effective, and alignment around mission and values allows us to better serve players,” the developer explains. “We’ve designed Queue Dodge to help self-identified mismatches move on in an open, positive, and constructive way.”

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Riot calls its interview process “rigorous”, but that doesn’t mean every hire is a good fit. The developer believes that this is good for the individual as well as being good for the company.

It’s an unusual move, but not the first time a company has done this. Riot says it was inspired by customer-focused Zappos, which started something similar in 2009.

In creative industries like game development, it strikes me that it makes sense to have an equally creative policy when it comes to staff leaving. It’s certainly one way to ensure that work does not suffer because someone isn’t a good fit but wants to stay for the cash.