A Bonus System That Lets You Reward Your Peers

Some may be skeptical of this program from IGN Entertainment (a subsidiary of News Corp that is responsible for IGN.com and other male-focused websites) but hear us out: the company has developed a system that lets employees give each other bonuses.

Called “Viral Pay,” here’s how it works: every employee is awarded “tokens of appreciation,” worth $1 each, twice a year. Then there are only three rules: the employees must give all the tokens away, they can’t give any to themselves, and they can’t give any to IGN’s president.

“The purpose is to reward super-performers with super-pay,” IGN’s HR vice president tells Fast Company.

Every token gifted is anonymous, so the creepiness factor of sending a buck to that person in accounting who saved your butt is much reduced. And while it may seem like this system is just begging for two people to agree to give each other all their tokens, in practice, that hasn’t seemed to have happened yet, FC reports. Instead, most employees divide their tokens up among multiple people.

Another likely pitfall of such a system is that the most popular, not necessarily the top performing, employees are likely to receive a lion’s share of the bonuses. While IGN can’t do anything about that, it did create a separate program where managers are given tokens from another pool and can award them to people who were overlooked by their peers but still deserving.

“Silva says the viral program is useful for confirming who the star performers are and identifying people who should be helped to grow,” FC says. “And it helps identify “unsung heroes”–people who might not being doing the kind of work that gets recognized at all-hands meetings but who are considered indispensible by their peers.”

Your thoughts?