The Value of Mentorship, Meetings, and Group Incentives in a Field Experiment

Last registered on December 20, 2017


Trial Information

General Information

The Value of Mentorship, Meetings, and Group Incentives in a Field Experiment
Initial registration date
July 20, 2017
Last updated
December 20, 2017, 11:25 AM EST



Primary Investigator

University of Utah

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Michigan State University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We study the impact of peer-mentoring, meetings, and group compensation on worker performance in a field experiment. In collaboration with a mid-sized firm in several locations in the US, we grouped workers into four groups. All workers took a baseline survey and were paired with another worker. The first group is the control. The second treatment group entered a tournament where winners were the pairs with the greatest percent change in performance and were awarded a prize of $50 value. The third treatment group was given time to meet with their partner and given free lunch if they met. The fourth treatment group received both the peer-mentorship lunch incentive and the performance prize. We investigate the impact of these treatments on performance and turnover. Both peer-mentorship and group incentives provide mechanisms for knowledge spillovers and agglomeration effects. We measure the impact of the knowledge transfers in terms of changes in performance and retention. The comparisons across groups provide evidence on whether peer-mentorship and meetings are a substitute or complement to group compensation. Of particular interest is the heterogeneity across types of mentorship pairs in terms of (1) gender, (2) past performance, (3) tenure.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Saouma, Richard and Nathan Seegert. 2017. "The Value of Mentorship, Meetings, and Group Incentives in a Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. December 20.
Former Citation
Saouma, Richard, Nathan Seegert and Nathan Seegert. 2017. "The Value of Mentorship, Meetings, and Group Incentives in a Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. December 20.
Experimental Details


In collaboration with a mid-sized firm in several locations in the US, we conduct a field experiment over a four-week period. During our field experiment, there were 650 employees doing similar tasks, with measurable performance metrics. The goal of the experiment is to investigate and quantify the impact of peer-mentorship, meetings, and group compensation. We measure performance and employee turnover both within our four-week period and for the following three months.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Performance and turnover.

We are particularly interested in heterogeneity in these outcome variables by gender (e.g., (female, female), (female, male), (male, male)), past performance (e.g., (high performer, high performer), (high performer, low performer), (low performer, low performer)), and tenure (e.g., (new employee, new employee), (new employee, seasoned employee), (seasoned employee, seasoned employee)). There is reason to believe the treatment could be stronger with homogenous pairs (e.g., (male, male)) or stronger in heterogeneous pairs (e.g., (low performer, high performer)).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment includes 650 employees who are randomly assigned a partner and the pairs are assigned to one of four treatment groups. The first group is the control. The second group is entered into a tournament where incentives are given at the pair level (group incentives). The third group is given time and an incentive to meet with their partner (peer-mentorship). The fourth group is given both the group incentive and the peer-mentorship treatment.

Pairs with the group incentives are told they are competing against another pair, but not which other pair---this is determined randomly after the tournament. Each pair’s score is given by the percent change in performance for the pair over a one-week period. The pair with the highest score receives a prize with a value of $50.

Pairs within the peer-mentorship treatment are told who their partners are, encouraged to meet with their partner, (are) given a worksheet to fill out with their partner discussing work strategies, and if they turn in the worksheet are given free lunch.
This experiment is repeated for four weeks. Half of the sample is repaired every week. The other half keep their partner for the full four weeks.

There are several levels of randomization that takes place. First, employees are assigned to treatment groups by team, which is a small working group with a coach. This is done to limit information spillovers across treatment groups. Second, employees are randomly paired with another employee within treatment, brand, location, and schedule. This stratification is done to ensure pairs have the opportunity to meet. Third, pairs with group incentives (treatment groups 2 and 4) are randomly grouped at the end of each week to determine winners and award prizes. Employees do not know who their competitors are during the competition.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in office on a computer.
Randomization Unit
Treatments were randomized across 44 teams. Pairs were randomized and stratified within treatment, brand, location, and schedule. The latter two are important to ensure the pairs can meet.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
44 teams. Teams are units the firm created, each with a leader/manager.
Sample size: planned number of observations
650 employees
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment 1 (control): 189
Treatment 2 (group incentives): 134
Treatment 3 (peer-mentorship): 159
Treatment 4 (group incentives and peer-mentorship): 168
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Utah IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB 00098156


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials