The reason pizza, NOT money, is the key to improving productivity...

The reason pizza, NOT money, is the key to improving productivity...

Are you struggling to motivate staff? 

If so, then Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and author of the upcoming book ‘Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations’, may have the answer – he has discovered that pizza is a better motivator than money.

In his book Ariely details an experiment conducted at an Intel factory in Israel.

Staff there got one of three messages at the start of the working week detailing an incentive they would receive if they got everything done that day. One offered them a cash bonus (approximately £20), another offered them a compliment from their boss (via text message) and the final one offered them a voucher for free pizza. A quarter of employees – the control group - received no message.

Pizza was the top motivator on the first day, with productivity rising by 6.7% in that group. One the same day those who would receive a compliment saw productivity rise by 6.6%, and those that would receive a cash bonus saw productivity rise by 4.9%.

Over the course of the week the cash incentive decreased productivity by 6.5%, while the potential prize of pizza or a compliment kept productivity up. Ultimately, compliments beat pizza as the best motivator.

New York Magazine notes that the original plan for the pizza prize was for it to be delivered to the workers’ homes.  

“This way,” he writes, “we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families.”

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Comments (2)

  • Allan
    Thu, 1 Sep 2016 2:46pm BST
    One line, half-hidden away, gladdens my little HR heart: "Ultimately, compliments beat pizza as the best motivator."
  • Jo
    Thu, 1 Sep 2016 12:28pm BST
    We used Pizza Parties as a team incentive to complete our last employee engagement survey. It worked a treat with every team who had 100% completion being entered in to a competition to win a Pizza Party for the whole team (and some teams were 50+ people!). With over 2200 employees, we were looking for an 80% response rate but with the amount of teams going for the 100% we got a 89% rate in the end, which was a great achievement.

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