Pizza Works Better Than Cash
Who doesn’t love pizza?*
That’s the question Dan Ariely implies in his upcoming book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. In the book, Ariely, a behavioral economist, recounts a week-long experiment in which employees working at a semiconductor factory were promised one of three things if they were able to assemble a certain number of chips per day:
A. A cash bonus of approximately $30
B. A voucher for a free pizza
C. A complimentary text message of “Well done!” from the boss
*A fourth group, serving as the control, received nothing.
Interestingly, pizza was the top motivator on day one–increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group. This is somewhat surprising considering the cash only motivated a 4.9 percent increase…and actually resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in productivity for the week overall.
What was the biggest motivator of the week?
The compliment proved to be the very best motivator. Productivity in the Pizza group dropped by the end of the week (still better than the control group) whereas the Text from the Boss gained a little.
Why Praise Matters
Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People: There is one longing–almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep–which is seldom gratified. It’s a craving to be appreciated.
When you commend and praise members of your team, you satisfy a basic human craving and provide motivation as a byproduct–as was highlighted in Ariely’s experiment.
And just think: If the promise of a simple text message from the boss can increase productivity, can you imagine what real, sincere, authentic praise could do?
To be clear, it can’t be flattery or praise that you don’t really mean.
Everyone deserves praise for something; as a leader, it’s your job to figure out what. To look for the good, to see the potential and bring out the best in them.
Your employees will value that a heckuva lot more than pizza.
I guarantee it.
Talk to me about how to recognize and acknowledge good work. Check out my Leadership Coaching Program
*Adapted from Justin Bariso, Founder, Insight in Inc.com
**Please notice my new logo. The roots, trunk and leaves represent the organic growth of the leader. When the leader grows, their business grows!
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