Science Says Pizza Is A Much Better Workplace Motivator Than Money

Show your employees some love and treat them to a pizza every now and then, because money is not the only way to motivate them.


Pizza, it appears, is the secret to everything, because people may work hard for money, but they work even harder for a slice of glorious cheesy goodness. In fact, if you are a boss and want to boost workplace productivity, the best way to go about it is to treat them with a pizza party.

Dan Ariely, a psychology professor at Duke University, North Carolina, shared this obvious (and extremely delicious) research in his upcoming book “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.”

In order to find out if pizza does unlock an individual’s full working potential, the researcher conducted a week-long experiment at a semiconductor factory in Israel. There, they separated workers into four groups, promising each group a different reward for the job.

The incentives included $30 bonuses, motivational text messages from the boss and free pizza. The fourth  and probably the most unlucky  control group was not promised any sort of prize.

Unsurprisingly, free pizza was the top motivator. It increased productivity by 6.7 percent compared to those who had to eat their own unexciting food. As for the $30 bonus group, those employees actually performed 13.2 percent worse than the control group on second day. A cash bonus only increased their productivity by 4.9 percent.

Interestingly, those who received a “well done” from their boss performed almost as well as the pizza crowd. They were 6.6 percent more productive than the control group.

Pizza Party

The takeaway: There is no greater power than pizza. Compliments are a close second.

“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,” Wharton professor Adam Grant explained to The Wall Street Journal. “But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.”

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