United is going to pause to consider employee feedback on its place to replace quarterly bonuses with a much less expensive lottery program.
The plan they announced on Friday would save the airline perhaps $30 million per year by replacing bonuses of up to $300 per quarter per employee with a lottery offering big prizes to 1-2% of employees.
Dear United colleagues,
Since announcing our planned changes to the quarterly operations incentive program, we have listened carefully to the feedback and concerns you’ve expressed.
Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you.
So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead. We will be reaching out to work groups across the company, and the changes we make will better reflect your feedback.
There is no suggestion that they’re going to reverse course and reinstate the bonus program. Instead they still say that they are going to make changes. The bonus program remains in jeopardy. It’s just that the ultimate replacement will ‘better reflect’ employee feedback.
Unquestionably employees were unhappy seeing their pay axed by up to $1200 per year. Sending out a statement that is being interpreted as shelving the plan helps them. The next step will matter more.
And management needs to seriously question themselves if they misjudged how slashing bonuses would be taken by employees (if they thought their employees were guillible enough to buy the lottery with fewer dollars paid out as an improvement).