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Want a More Productive Staff? Don't Bribe Them, Order Delivery

Posted by Dean Asher on 9/2/16 5:00 AM
Topics: retail management

If you've worked in retail or business long enough, you've probably seen and tried nearly every trick to promote productivity. Cash incentives are popular, with managers dangling gift cards, movie tickets or even extra vacation time in an attempt to motivate their employees. But one study has found that none of these things can light a fire under your staff like a little pepperoni and cheese.

A recent workplace study conducted by behavioral economist Dan Ariely found that a simple slice of pizza can be a stronger motivator than any financial incentive, according to Inc. 

Want a More Productive Staff? Don't Bribe Them, Order Delivery

How the pizza workplace motivator study was conducted

Ariely selected factory workers who assemble computer chips as his lab rats because their level of productivity could very clearly be measured. The workers were promised one of three rewards if they had a productive workweek: pizza, compliments, or a cash bonus of around $30. A fourth unlucky group, the control group, was promised nothing.

After the first day, those who had been promised pizza had been more productive than the control group by 6.7 percent. And here's what's even more surprising. Those who were promised a compliment -- which was simply a text message from the boss that said "Well done!" -- were neck-and-neck with the pizza group at 6.6 percent. The worst motivator? The cash bonus group, whose productivity increased only 4.9 percent compared with the control.

And then things got even more surprising. Over the course of the work week, the productivity of the workers who were promised a cash bonus plummeted. "For the week overall, the cash bonus ended up costing the company more and resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in productivity," reports Science of Us. "From the employer's perspective, a cash bonus is worse than offering no incentive at all."

— Betsy Mikel, Inc.
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