Want to motivate your employees to get more work done? According to a recent study, offering them free pizza could be more effective than the promise of a cash bonus.
In an new book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, psychologist Dan Ariely details an experiment he conducted among workers at a factory in Israel.
Staff at the plant were sent messages at the beginning of the week telling them they’d receive a particular reward if they got a certain amount of work done.
One group of workers were told they’d receive a bonus of around $30 if they completed the work. A second group were promised a voucher for a free pizza. A third group would receive a text message from their boss at the end of the week congratulating them. As a control, a fourth group weren’t offered any particular incentive.
As a report in New York Magazine details, as the week-long experiment got underway, the free pizza proved to be a more powerful motivator than the money – the pizza group showed a 6.7 per cent increase in productivity, against the money group’s 4.9 per cent increase.
However, by the end of the week the pizza group had slipped into second place behind the group promised a congratulatory text message, who showed the highest increase in productivity overall.
Perhaps more surprisingly, the group offered cash ended up in fourth place, behind the control group.
The results indicate that making staff feel appreciated at work is key if you want them to put in a good performance.
As psychology professor Adam Grant told The Wall Street Journal last year: “Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning — your raise in pay feels like your just due, your bonus gets spent, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it.
“But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.”