United Airlines recently rolled out and then quickly retracted a plan to replace quarterly employee bonuses for its 80,000 employees with a program that would pay $100,000 to one lucky employee selected at random and smaller bonuses of $2,000 or $5,000 to about 1,300 more. Other employees would get vacation packages or a new Mercedes. The idea was to make the plan more exciting for employees, but most would have lost bonuses that paid up to $1,500 over the course of the year.

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