How to motivate your team? Pizza or washing machine of course!

  | James Innes

Keeping employees motivated is not always easy, but incentives can help. The trick is to find out what motivates your employees in particular so that you can boost productivity and keep your team happy.

For a company in the North East of England, MI Supplies, the incentives that have proven to work the best include gym memberships, a profit-share scheme, private health care and a Bike to Work initiative. Managing Director, Alex Ingham, advocates the philosophy that happy and healthy staff result in a happy and healthy business and it certainly seems to work. Not only has the company achieved 205% growth, believed to be as a direct result of these incentives, but only one person has chosen to leave the company in 10 years. (Source: Chronicle Live)

In a region of Uzbekistan, the rewards offered by the government for cotton pickers are somewhat more tangible. During the annual harvest, those who manage to pick 5 tonnes of cotton can get a free television and 10 tonnes could result in a fridge or a washing machine. For those productive enough to pick 15 tonnes, you could skip the crazily long waiting list for purchasing a locally made car. (Source: BBC)

However, in a study recently carried out at Intel in Israel by Dan Ariely for his book Payoff: The hidden logic that shapes our motivations three groups of employees received emails offering them either free pizza, a financial bonus or a compliment from their boss. A fourth control group received no offer of an incentive of any kind. On the first day, the results showed that pizza was the biggest motivator!! By the end of the week, though, it proved that the offer of a compliment from the boss was the biggest motivator. Surprisingly, the offer of a financial incentive was the biggest demotivator. Not only did it cost the company more money, it also resulted in a drop in productivity. (Source: NY Mag)

Whatever incentive you decide to go for, there is no denying that if you keep your employees happy, they will reward you with improved performance and productivity. And it doesn't need to cost you anything!

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