Employee of the Month

Anybody who has ever visited, or better yet worked in, an American box store (e.g. Walmart, K-Mart), will instantly recognize Employee of the Month (2006) as a comedy set in a common American workplace. It is the story of Zach Bradley, a box boy at Super Club, who goes through his work with negligible interest in his work or his company. On the other hand is Vince Downey, a head cashier who has won the last 17 Employee of the Month awards, and is committed to winning it once more so he can join the Hall of Fame and win a new car. Just when you think Vince is a winner and Zach is a loser, enter Amy- a new cashier transferring from another Super Club who has a reputation for dating only Employee of the Month awardees. Boy-meets-girl, and Vince and Zach become competitors for the award. After many twists and turns, Zach wins the award (as well as Amy). 

The movie is a fantastic example of the role of motivation in influencing employee behavior and workplace commitment. Academics define motivation as the reason/s for engaging in a specific behavior. According to one theory, people can be either motivated by external (extrinsic motivation) or internal (intrinsic motivation) reasons. When intrinsically motivated, people do something because they want to. When extrinsically motivated, people do something for a reward to. Like with most psychological theories, there is an on-going debate between theorists who believe both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons are equally motivating, those who believe that one is better than other, and those who believe the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic reasons is absurd and meaningless.

In the movie, Zach ccould care less about extrinsic rewards such as the Employee of the Month award and the new car, while Vince is attracted to these external rewards. However, Amy’s entry changes things- Zach is attracted to her and is now intrinsically motivated to become the  Employee of the Month so she would date him. The competition between Zach and Vince is hilarious and provides a great example of how people are differently affected by intrinsic and extrinsic reasons.          

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23 responses to “Employee of the Month

  1. This movie was a humorous way to display the lengths people are willing to go just to succeed. Vince will stop at nothing to be considered a wonderful employee. Zach trys hard at not trying at all. As the movie progresses it shows how two people who are completely opposite will stop at nothing to reach their goals. Its truly sad that people are willing to leave everything they loved just for selfish ambitions. Zach is willing to leave his friends in the dust while Vince unknowingly is willing to give away free grocercies due to his own arrogance and his desire in being the employee of the month 18 times. Its an interesting movie and shows the humours side of a big chain store like Sams Club.

  2. Employee of the Month was my second movie selection. This movie was a good laugh—a light-hearted comedy about the common American workplace displaying the effects and influence of motivation within the context of organizational culture. Zach Bradley is the main character who is a witty fellow drowning in a pool of under-achievement, doing enough to just get by because he has nothing better to do. When a new employee, Amy (Jessica Simpson), hits the scene carrying the reputation for falling for guys who top the list as Employee of the Month, Zach seizes the opportunity to take his performance to whole new level. Zach battles it out with his co-worker nemesis, Vince, who is up for the challenge. The movie is full of pranks and surprises, and does a good job of illustrating the power and effects of motivation. Also, I think the movie gives a good snapshot of the organizational culture of a common American workplace, and how it affects different employees in different ways. I really enjoyed the movie for what it’s worth and was able to get some valuable insights into concepts, such as organization objectives and organization values, and how they interact and affect organizational culture.

  3. Umutai Mamarasulova

    Employee of the month wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Basically movie illustrated two completely opposite employees of Super Club (a store like Wal-Mart). Vince Downey is the fastest head cashier & many times winner of the employee of the month, who is very selfish and all he wants is a grand prize Chevy Malibu. Zach Bradley, on the other hand, is a box boy, who has no inspiration for work, but has a very nice personality. As Amy, a cute new cashier comes into scene, Zach changes and for the first time in his life wants to become an employee of the month. So here movie gets interesting as two employees of the store compete to be the best employee of the month.
    Basically movie demonstrated that employees can be inspired one way or another and even get to what they want to achieve.

  4. This movie makes fun of the competition that exists among co-workers in a company. Although the characters had completely different personalities, they shared the common goal of becoming Employee of the Month. It showed that some employees will do everything in their power to reach the top; this being Vince in the movie. While others (Zack) need some sort of motivation to strive for achievement. Vince had always worked hard and prided himself as being the best cashier in the region. On the otherhand, Zack could have cared less who received the gold star for the day. It wasn’t until he had the intention of winning over Amy that Zack was motivated to be the best. This is what the movie is centered around; the competition between Zack and Vince to become Employee of the Month.

  5. I realize that the movie is “Employee” of the Month, but it was interesting to me how clueless management was portrayed as being throughout this entire movie. They didn’t look into anything, just kept on trying to motivate the employees with the same competition. The antics of Vince and Zack went completely unnoticed, as did comments made directly in front of them. At one point, Vince hisses loudly to a secretary “You sold yourself for a candy bar?” as they were standing directly in front of the management. Ultimately, managment has to be blatantly told (twice) what is going on by an individual painted as rather slow mentally. As the previous four posts have stated, it is a great movie about employee motivation and how each person responds to different motivators. However, it’s also a great movie about management, and that a little attention to or communication with employees can go a long way.

  6. There were several concepts from business that can be seen in this movie including motivation, orginizational structure and culture, and employee theft/shrinkage just to name a few. But I agree with the last post that the management (or lack there of) was the main thing that I noticed in the film. They were so worried about things that were somewhat irrelevant and were clueless as to what was actually going on in their own store. Its sad to say but there are actually managers out there like these two fools running businesses into the ground. Good movie though, very comical.

  7. This movie showcased several business concepts with the main concept obviously being motivation in the workplace. It also showed two extreme personalities through Zack and Vince. It was hilarious because I have worked with both types, someone who almost has to work at doing nothing rather than doing their job and a person who really goes overboard. Overall i thought the movie was ok, I’m not a real fan of any of the actors/actresses.

  8. The movie was an interpretation of a widely accepted business practive, using incentives to motivate employees. Although the movie took a comical approach for their interpretation it had many good points worth noting. One would be that not every employee is going to take the incentive program seriously. This is either because they dont think they will be able to get the title of employee of the month or they might just not care to be the employee of the month. For the latter there isnt much that can be done to motivate these employees, but for the employees that care it tends to motivate them to be more productive. The movie in my opinion was ok.

  9. Lucas Corbett

    The first thing that came to mind watching this movie is incentive based performance. Giving away a car is a great way to increase employee performance. I wish I would win a car for being a great employee

  10. Nick Stoysich

    I think steve had a good point. Some employees get really into it, and some don’t. I think everyone would at least a little bit like to be recognized in some way. I don’t think anyone really minds to be told they are doing a good job. I think it has to be done differently depending on the person. Some people like to have a big public thing, but some dont and prefer to keep it quiet.

  11. Trevor Luchsinger

    This movie was a very interesting one. It really showed how when there isnt very good management, what can happen. Movies like this overexagerate everything. But it does a good job showing that when management doesnt do their job, how your employees can get out of control.

  12. Eraj Tabaraliev

    I did watch long time ago, but I watched it again anyway because it is interesting movie. Employee of the Month was a good comedy about how and what employees do in common American workplace and the context of organizational culture. It was funny but it show a serious problem people face in the workplace – competition between employees. Movie described that employees get promoted in good and bad ways. I enjoyed watching this movie.

  13. The film “Employee of the Month” puts a comedic spin on the idea of employee moral and employee motivation. The film revolves around employees who work at “Super Club,” which resembles that of a SAM’s Club or other bulk discount store. Two employees in particular, Zach and Vince, are part of what is played out to be an epic battle to who will achieve the title of “Employee of the Month.”

    The film displays numerous instances of efforts toward employees’ motivation. Super Club has a cashier’s lounge with perks like free soda; it has the Employee of the Month Wall, with pictures of all past employees. It takes part in checkout speed record events, where Vince holds the title as fastest in the southwest region for 17 months in a row. This is where the real battle comes in between Vince and Zach, seeing as if Vince gets the record for 18 months in a row he’ll be in the “Hall of Fame,” on the fast track to management, and will win a new Chevy Malibu!

    We can see all the efforts that management has taken to try and promote employee moral. Having the store close for a party/picnic that is semi-formal/mandatory and having a competitive softball game against Maxi-Mart, the place that puts dog collars around the ankles of their employees to shock them. In addition to these points, I find it funny how the film pokes fun at some of the attributes of the Super Club family. For example, like when it says that if you give someone a badge it gives them a false sense of power, or the clubhouse that Zach and his buddies have built in between the palettes of product and the fact that Vince is what is referred to as the “Alpha Male” of the store.

    The film continues and we see the efforts that Zach goes to try and become the Employee of the Month and impress the new checkout girl, Amy. He wakes up early just so that he can get to work early and so that the bosses can see him punching in. He races with Vince in an effort to try and be the first to clean up peaches that have spilled in an aisle. Then efforts get sillier as the film goes on, they both try and save the lost child in the store, Vince gives back massages to the managers, all in efforts to get that coveted “gold start” for the board. Finally Zach earns a star for selling a coffin to a woman.

    We see the elements of any corporation as they call an emergency staff meeting due to the lack of employees to work. Zach steps in to work the line and saves the day. He is rewarded by an access card to the cashier’s lounge. As the film ensues more efforts by Zach leads him to tie Vince for the title of Employee of the Month. This leads to a hilarious idea of the “check stand ring-off.” The ring off takes place and this brings us to the banquet were the winner is to be announced, the one with the fastest ring-rate wins. This turns out to be Vince and he begins to give his victory speech, when Semi brings forward a tape that shows that Vince has be improperly ringing up items and has results in loss in sales and giving away items for free. Vince is hence disqualified and Zach wins by default.

    While this movie was produced to provide the audience with some laughs at the expense of the retail industry, there are some valuable managerial lessons that can be viewed in the film. The notion of extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation is presented with the efforts of both physical rewards (Chevy Malibu) and psychological rewards (title of employee of the month, access to the cashier’s lounge). Along with this, the issue of ethics and integrity in employees is presented when we see that Vince has been cheating the store out of profits and giving away free products. Overall, the film presents employee motivation in numerous ways and gives the audience a way to laugh at all those silly things that management tries to do to make employees feel part of the “Super Club Family.”

  14. Employee of the Month clearly shows the impact of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on worker performance. From first glance, the movie seems to show that extrinsic rewards are a stronger form of motivation for most people, as Vince had his eye on winning the car and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, while Zach had his eye on winning Amy over. However, in the end, it was intrinsic motivation that kept Zach striving to work hard. At the last second, he almost gave up because Amy found out his true intentions of becoming Employee of the Month and didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. However, his friends pushed him to succeed for personal pride and fulfillment. Zach became motivated again and competed in the tie-breaker round. From then on he decided to work harder and not just be that “box boy” who didn’t take chances.

    Extrinsic awards seem to lead to short-term motivation, while intrinsic awards lead to long-term motivation.

  15. Employee of the Month pokes fun at retail stores and shows the audience what companies can do to boost employee moral. Super Club is a store that offers incentive based employee benefits. Cashiers are entitled to the “cashier only” lounge and are given benefits such as free drinks and a comfortable place to watch TV. Super Club also competes in an annual softball game against Maxi Mart. The game is a team-building event and every member of the store is to take it seriously. Super Club also offers the Employee of the Month award. The team member with the most outstanding service is formally recognized and there picture is hung on the wall. If you are able to achieve eighteen Employee of the Months in a row you are entered into the Super Club hall of fame and are eligible to win a car. The movie is filled with preposterous situations, but the theme of employee appreciation/recognition should not be taken lightly. Companies attempt to motivate their employees so they are happier and more productive on the job. Competitions like Employee of the Month can motivate employees to be more productive and go beyond the call of duty for the company.

  16. Rachael Schwartz

    Employee of the Month shows a clear take on the two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. The movie portrays two very different types of characters a hard-working employee of the month and a slacker. The Zack, the slacker, has little interest in his job till he finds something of interest to him… Amy. Amy becomes the manifestation of Zack’s intrinsic motivation. As the film progresses Zack also becomes intrinsically motivated by other aspects of himself and his job besides just Amy. The employee of the month, Vince, is the complete opposite of Zack. He cares solely about the rewards he can gain from being the employee of the month. He is enamored by his pictures on his wall and obsessed with becoming the top employee. While extrinsic motivation is very commonly used to get employees to work harder, intrinsic motivation is much more difficult to get a handle on. It is easy to motivate an employee like Vince, a simple picture on the wall or a monetary reward can get that sort of employee to work hard. Motivating an employee like Zack is much more difficult. His motivation must come from a place beyond normal incentives and benefits. This film is an entertaining way of portraying these different types of motivation and how employees might act under certain circumstances.

  17. Venkata S Mudunuru

    The entire plot of this movie is woven almost around 2 male employees at the Super Club retailer, competing for the Employee of the Month title.. Vince is the Super Club’s Employee of the Month for the past 17 months. He has advanced through various positions to become head cashier. He is well-favored among the Super Club management and has been named the fastest checker in the southwest. He is in line for a big promotion and has quite an award package awaiting him, pending his 18th consecutive win. Zach, on the other hand, is a typical box boy. He has little regard for the store and no self-motivation or desire to advance to higher positions. He is an everyday guy: He goes to work; he goes home. He is well-liked and respected by fellow employees.
    Actually, the concept of Employee of the Month took me down the memory lane for a while as we used to have a similar appreciation award in the organization I have worked earlier, in India. However, this movie disappointed me a little bit, as awards like “Employee of the month” are tokens of appreciation that will go far in motivating employees. But in the movie the motivating factor was the new cashier, Amy. Both Zach and Vince actually try to win the award by show off and creating impression that they are the best workers rather than working with a sense of self-motivation or zeal though Zach realizes the true sense by the end of the movie.

  18. Dipankar Rai

    Employee of the month was a fun movie to watch. The movie revolves around Zack who is a box boy at Super Club, a large warehouse store for 10 years who doesn’t work and makes others work for him, however gets along very well with fellow employees. Another main character is Vince is a very successful cashier who has become head cashier of the store and winner of seventeen consecutive “Employee of the Month” awards. Zack, on the other hand, is a slacker but is popular with his colleagues. Zack is not even interested in being the “Employee of the Month” except when Amy, a new cashier who only dates “Employee of the Month” winners, transfers to the store. Zack and Vince compete to get Amy’s attention .Vince attempts to impress Amy with skills as a cashier and his seventeen “Employee of the Month” awards, while Zack tries by being himself. After realizing that Amy is falling for Vince, Zack believes his only chance to get her is to win Super Club’s next “Employee of the Month” award and then competes with Vince for the award. However he loses his friends in this process since he does things to impress the boss that hurts his friends’ emotions. One of his friends Iqbal ends up losing his job because Zack who promised to cover him fails to do so since he goes to play baseball to impress his bosses. At the end Zack realizes that he was motivated for the wrong reason and decides to win the competition for himself and ends up winning.
    The film show different ways of employee motivation and paints a picture of how are things achieved in a humorous setting.

  19. Employee of the month is a movie that shows us that how different factors motivate different people. Zack a box boy was just simply wanted to date the girl so to impress her he wanted to be the employee of the month whereas on the other hand his competitor Vince a cashier wanted the fame associated with the award. Money and fame cannot be the only motivational factors. Self satisfaction can also motivate an employee. So I believe that a organization where the employees are self driven can definitely gain success as employees are the main base of the organization. I really liked the way the movie shows competition between the two guys. It also shows us that with success there are responsibilities and is very important to strike a balance between personal life like work friends and one’s work.

  20. Employee Motivation
    “Employee of the Month” is a comedy about two men who race to become, what I am certain is actually a Costco warehouse, Super Club’s best employee. And their motivation, you ask? A hot, new girl who has a history of only sleeping with employees of the month.

    Super Club creates a veritable caste system of employees; managers are at the top, cashiers enjoy the most coveted position among manual workers, and stock/inventory workers are on the bottom. Cashiers even have the luxury of their own lounge, complete with a free vending machine.

    This creates an environment that is not conducive to employee improvement, especially for those who are not cashiers. What would be the point of being a more efficient inventory worker when no one appreciates your work? The weak management in the movie falls apart in any emergency (when corporate officials visit) and caters only to the front-end of the business (the cashiers).

    What management does, however, get right, is the race and party at the end of the movie. It is not uncommon for workplaces to throw ice cream socials and have fun competition between employees. This works well to raise employee morale and efficiency. However, not employee, let alone an entire department, should be ignored.

  21. Alex Yeuchyk

    “Employee of the month”, like any movie uses a story line that could be interesting to a regular viewer. However, behind a comedy, between the lines, an insightful person can see a lot of true stories happening to businesses.
    First, it is competitiveness of employees, sometimes unhealthy. One of the characters, Vince almost wins the final competition because of his dishonesty. Only thanks to the guard that whistle blows and proves to everyone that Vince has cheated the truth can be revealed and the true winner Zack can be nominated Employee of the month.
    Second, division of employees on preferred and just everybody else. In the movie, cashiers are really put above every other groups of employees, thus de-motivating every one else to prove their best effort.
    Finally, lack of management’s capacity to control and solve difficult work-related situations demonstrates in only superficial make-ups of the store functioning when other company managers visit the store.

  22. Employee of the Month shows how two employees compete with each other to win the title they want. They were driven by the motivation of wining the heart of Amy. The power of motivation made huge changes on Zack, who did not have much interest in “Employee of the Month”. During the competition, Vince tried to win the game in unethical way but was disclosed by the guide.

    From this comedy, we can see how important the motivation is in terms of improving employees’ behavior. Meanwhile, we can also sense the importance of setting proper incentives and regulations to execute the competition. The motivation should be something more than money rewards and recognition of boss, although they are important and essential. Not everyone takes money reward and praise important, and some people would rather live in the way they feel comfortable. Therefore, it is important for management to analyze and survey the key factors which would lead to better employee behavior. People are passionate and hard working when they agreed upon the culture and way of reward of the company. Employee is diligent when they feel they are important to the company. Besides, the proper supervision is essential since it would promise the fairness of friendly completion.

    Moreover, the rules of competition should better take every aspect into account. When employee feel everyone could stand the chance to win, they go for it; when employee think the competition is set for certain persons but not himself, he is likely to pay no attention to.

  23. Ruoyi (Renee) Guan

    This movie, Employee of the month, showed us how people would get motivated in a series of humorous scenes. It is interesting that although Amy claimed that she would only date the “Employee of the Month”, she eventually got impressed by Zack’s personalities, regardless the fact that Zack had never won any “Employee of the Month” award. In addition, this plot can be extended to the bigger part of the society, not just a competition between two men to win a woman’s affection. For example, if a corporation is seeking a partner company to work on a project, and this corporation has several choices, obviously it would look for the most qualified one. However, sometimes the most qualified one can be beaten by an average company simply because the manager of the project likes their working style, or this company used to give lots of donation to the third world countries. This movie tells us technical skills are definitely important because they are required for people to walk into the industry, but sometimes the soft skills, such as communication skills and good personalities, are more significant in both people’s career and their lives.

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