IGN Entertainment, a division of News Corp. that creates content and communities for gaming, has developed a unique profit sharing system which allows employees themselves to help determine of much of the unit's profits should go to each worker.
Called "viral pay", IGN's system was profiled in a recent Fast Company article.
Twice a year, in January and July, IGN creates a basket of tokens (called "Tokens of Appreciation") based on how much profit there is to share. It distributes the tokens among employees and has them give their tokens--which are worth $1 each--to whatever other employees they want, as recognition for a job well done.
So, for example, if there's someone in ad sales who went above and beyond to help you on particular campaign, you might toss some tokens their way. Of if there's a developer who you think always comes up with great ideas about how to solve particular engineering problems, you might send them a little token love as well. Employees can give all their tokens to the same person, but they usually divide them up among several people.
There are only three rules to the program, Greg Silva, IGN's vice president of "People and Places" (HR and facilities), tells Fast Company: You can't award any tokens to yourself, all tokens have to be given away, and IGN's president (the organization's chief executive) isn't eligible.
Silva notes that, in addition to confirming who the star performers are, the program helps identify the "unsung heroes" whose work may not be in the spotlight, but who are considered indispensible by their peers. And because IGN publicizes the number of tokens received by top employees as well as the average amount allocated overall, it has also turned out to be a motivator for lesser performers who are inspired to figure out why they got so few tokens and to do better in the next round.
The net result: an interesting combination of peer-to-peer recognition and cash profit sharing.
Would this work in your organization?
Image courtesy of admin.01viral.com