A New Study Now Shows Employees Are More Motivated By Pizza Than Cash

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Is there anything better than a piping hot pizza delivered to the office for lunch? Well, according to science, the answer is no.

Dan Ariely, author of “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations,” conducted a study in which people were given either pizza, compliments from their boss or a cash bonus as an incentive for increased productivity. Pizza turned out to be the biggest motivator. Employees who got pizza improved productivity by 6.7 percent. Praise from high-ups came in a close second, with a 6.6 percent increase in productivity.

What’s shocking is that the people who received the cash bonus were actually less productive. The people who received money instead of pizza or praise performed 13.2 percent worse than people in the control group by the second day of the work week.

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Photo by 401(K) 2013

“We find that financial incentives may indeed reduce intrinsic motivation and diminish ethical or other reasons for complying with workplace social norms such as fairness,” Bernd Irlenbusch of the London School of Economics department of management said in an article in New York magazine. “This is not to say that fair pay isn’t important; of course it is. The point is that it’s not the only, or even the best, motivator for employees.”

Though the cash bonus in the experiment was small, it goes to show money isn’t the only thing that matters to workers. The bonus ended up costing the company more in cash as well as in lost productivity.

This experiment confirms the findings of a 2011 study by the London School of Economics and Political Science. Those researchers also found that financial incentives can produce negative results.

The bottom line? If you want to get things done, order a pizza!

[h/t: Hello Giggles]

Photo by Sebastian Mary