Go Beyond (your) Average: a Field Experiment on Real-time Performance Feedback and Sales Productivity

Angela Steffen (University of Bern)
Frauke von Bieberstein (University of Bern)

Abstract: Real-time performance feedback is one of the major trends in human resource management. However, insights about the implications of providing ongoing and timely performance information to employees are still scarce. We present the results of a randomized controlled trial involving 164 sales employees of a large railway catering company in Switzerland. In the presence of a relative incentive scheme, we find that real-time information about average performance levels can significantly increase sales productivity. In our setting, we observe a revenue growth of up to 3.9%, which corresponds to over 0.4 million Swiss francs additional revenue per year. This effect is mainly driven by employees performing just below the average productivity level. The top- and poorest-performing workers do not show significant reactions.

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