The Trouble With Employee Incentive Programs

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 11 2012 3:22 PM

The Trouble With Employee Incentive Programs

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The Whole Foods food tent at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park on July 18, 2008 in Chicago

Photograph by Roger Kisby/Getty Images.

Creating programs to reward employees who do a good job is a great idea, but you need to be careful how you structure things and consider whether the kind of job you have is one where it's reasonable to expect people to have adequate intrinsic motivation. Otherwise a poorly designed program plus a low-motivation occupation just gets you this:

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Not ideal. Elsewhere in gift-card land, I'm not sure if this Chipotle trick is a poorly designed policy on their part or a clever price-discrimination scheme.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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