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Managerial Attention, Attrition, and Employee Productivity
Last registered on June 10, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Managerial Attention, Attrition, and Employee Productivity
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004280
Initial registration date
June 05, 2019
Last updated
June 10, 2019 9:54 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Toronto Rotman School of Management
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-03-01
End date
2019-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We run a field experiment to study the impacts of managerial attention on employee attrition, productivity and well-being. We also study how managerial attention, as scarce resources, should be allocated among workers. Our studied firm, a network of 157 company-owned spa stores in China, has an annual turnover rate of 110%. This poses huge costs for the company. In addition, the productivity of workers is heavily influenced by their emotions. Thus, the strategic provision of managerial attention could be effective in reducing employee turnovers, or improving employee well-being and productivity at workplace.

We assign stores into two treatment groups and one control group. In both treatment groups, managers are provided a list of employee names every week, and need to have a private conversation with the listed employees. Each conversation has a standardized format, and managers received training prior to the experiment.

Our first treatment, labelled as "random allocation", is to provide managerial attention to random employees. Lists of employees are generated through random numbers, and the order of attention allocation is uncorrelated to any employee characteristics. Our second treatment, labelled as "target allocation", is to focus on employees with more negative emotions and therefore higher probabilities of attrition. We generate the list of employee names through high-frequency employee satisfaction surveys' scores.

The field experiment starts on April 1st, 2019 and lasts 6 months.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Liu, Shannon X. and Hugh Xiaolong Wu. 2019. "Managerial Attention, Attrition, and Employee Productivity." AEA RCT Registry. June 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4280-1.0.
Former Citation
Liu, Shannon X., Hugh Xiaolong Wu and Hugh Xiaolong Wu. 2019. "Managerial Attention, Attrition, and Employee Productivity." AEA RCT Registry. June 10. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4280/history/47840.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-04-01
Intervention End Date
2019-09-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Personnel Turnover
Employee productivity (sales, repeated customer share, compensation, attendance, etc.)
Store-level performances (e.g. revenues, customer visits)
Employee well-being
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We run a field experiment to study the impacts of managerial attention on employee attrition, productivity and well-being. We also study how managerial attention, as scarce resources, should be allocated among workers. Our studied firm, a network of 157 company-owned spa stores in China, has an annual turnover rate of 110%. This poses huge costs for the company. In addition, the productivity of workers is heavily influenced by their emotions. Thus, the strategic provision of managerial attention could be effective in reducing employee turnovers, or improving employee well-being and productivity at workplace.

We assign stores into two treatment groups and one control group. In both treatment groups, managers are provided a list of employee names every week, and need to have a private conversation with the listed employees. Each conversation has a standardized format, and managers received training prior to the experiment.

Our first treatment, labelled as "random allocation", is to provide managerial attention to random employees. Lists of employees are generated through random numbers, and the order of attention allocation is uncorrelated to any employee characteristics. Our second treatment, labelled as "target allocation", is to focus on employees with more negative emotions and therefore higher probabilities of attrition. We generate the list of employee names through high-frequency employee satisfaction surveys' scores.

The field experiment starts on April 1st, 2019 and lasts 6 months.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer: We select employees into treatments or control group by store using stratified randomization method. In addition to average attrition rate (store-level), we stratify on store sales and size, since these characteristics are correlated with turnovers, productivity and well-being.
Randomization Unit
Store
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
157 stores
Sample size: planned number of observations
157
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
52-53 in each treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Stanford IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-04-16
IRB Approval Number
49677