According to a new study, offering employees pizza as a reward for increased productivity does more to motivate them than cash. Apparently, melted cheese on tomato-y bread beats having more money after rent and food-that-is-not-pizza. It sounds weird, but think of it this way: employees already get paid some money and zero pizza. More money is nice, but that's an infinity percent increase in pizza! (More importantly, the whole team enjoys pizza together and people value social approval a lot.)
The study is featured in a new book called Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, written by Duke University psychology professor Dan Ariely. The study took place in an Intel factory in Israel, where groups of workers were offered either pizza, compliments, or a cash bonus on three separate days for producing more computer chips.
On the first day, the pizza group's productivity increased by a whopping 6.7 percent. Compliments increased production by a close second, at 6.6 percent. The cash bonus (about $30) only boosted productivity by only 4.9 percent.
Here's the weirdest part: on the second day, the group being offered cash performed 13.2 percent worse than the control group, who weren't promised anything.