Which of these would you find most satisfying as a reward for doing a great day’s work at the office: a bit of extra cash, a compliment from the boss or free pizza?

It may come as a surprise, but people actually prefer pizza and praise over money.

A slice of gooey cheese and tomato is a great incentive at the start of the working week but, ultimately, a ‘Well done’ from mission control comes out top.

The findings come from an experiment in workplace motivation carried out by psychology professor Dan Ariely of Duke University.

At the start of the week, he sent messages to three out of four workers at a semiconductor factory in Israel that offered them a variety of rewards for assembling a number of chips each day.

One group was promised a bonus of around $30; another, a ‘Well done!’ text message from the boss at the end of the week; a third group was offered a voucher for pizza; and the fourth set received no message or offer at all.
Early in the week, free pizza came top, with a 6.7 per cent increase in productivity over the control group, while a compliment from the boss saw an increase of 6.6 per cent, New York Magazine reported.

Perhaps surprisingly, a cash incentive came third with 4.9 per cent.

However, by day two, the money-motivated group performed 13.2 per cent worse than those in the control group.
At the end of the study at a semiconductor factory in Israel, the ‘Well done!’ text came top, free pizza was second and the control group was third. Money finished behind no extra motivation. The research was carried out by psychology professor Dan Ariely, and taken from his new book

Over the course of the week, the cash bonus cost the company more and resulted in a 6.5 per cent drop in productivity.

At the end of the study, the ‘Well Done!’ text was the ultimate winner. Free pizza came in second and the control group was third. Money finished behind no extra motivation.

In other words, it would have been better for the employer to offer them no incentive whatsoever.

Ariely even wanted the pizza to be delivered to the workers’ homes instead of a voucher, saying: ‘This way… we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families.’

What is clear from the study is that people love praise and appreciation.

‘Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning – your raise in pay feels like your just due, your bonus gets spent, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it.

‘But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you,’ Wharton professor Adam Grant told The Wall Street Journal last year.

The research is taken from Ariely’s new book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3768449/Free-pizza-better-way-motivate-workers-paying-money-word-praise-best