Which incentives best increase productivity in the office?


Money and feedback are great but both work best when combined with acknowledgement of an employee’s accomplishments.

From Richard Conniff’s interesting book, The Ape in the Corner Office: How to Make Friends, Win Fights and Work Smarter by Understanding Human Nature:

…researchers have demonstrated that feedback alone can increase productivity by 10 percent. This may seem merely logical, since feedback clarifies both the task and the expectations. But getting acknowledged for accomplishments can enhance performance by 17 percent, apparently for the entirely emotional reason that it builds trust and reinforces the bond between individual and group.

Social tools such as acknowledgement and approval are beneficial “even for high-paying organizations that believe they are inundating their managers and employees with monetary rewards,” according to University of Nebraska business professor Fred Luthans. Monetary incentives alone may increase performance by 23 percent. But when managers combine the money with feedback and social recognition, they can get a 45 percent jump in productivity.

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