Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Dan Ariely discovered that offering a free pizza voucher motivates employees more than a £20 cash bonus.
In his book, Payoff: the hidden logic that shapes our motivations, he uses the example of an experiment carried out on staff at an Intel factory in Israel to discuss what motivates staff.
At the beginning of the working week, employees received a message explaining the reward they would gain if their workloads were completed. One group was offered a cash bonus equating to approximately £20, a second group was told they would receive a compliment from their boss by text message and a third group was offered a voucher for a free pizza. A further control group received no message and would not gain a reward.
Results showed that after the first day, those in line for a pizza prize had a productivity boost of 6.7%, while those who were due to receive a compliment increased their productivity by 6.6%. Employees in the cash bonus group only increased their productivity by 4.9%.
By the end of the trial week, the reward of earning a compliment proved to be the best motivator, followed by the thought of free pizza. Those who would not receive any reward came in third with the monetary bonus falling into last place, performing 13.2% worse than the control group.
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