When trying to motivate, carrot beats stick - Business Works
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When trying to motivate, carrot beats stick

Adi Gaskell, PEX I'm sure managers the world over are familiar with the dilemma of how best to motivate those working with them. Is it best to incentivise the behaviours you want to see, or punish the behaviours you dont? As the saying goes, should you use a carrot or a stick to make your horse go faster?

New research from Michigan State University comes down firmly on the side of the carrot. Their research saw participants divided between supervisors and employees. Some of the employees were given bonuses for good performance whilst others worked with the spectre of penalties looming over them.

The results were pretty conclusive. Employees that were rewarded with a bonus for good performance put in more effort, which the researchers claim was driven by higher trust in the manager. They claim that this research is the first to focus on the trust issue that they say underpins motivation.

"What this means for companies is that employees who receive bonuses for their efforts will work even harder, increasing productivity and potentially bolstering profits," they say. "But those subjected to penalties tend to distrust the supervisor and, because of that, work less hard."

So to get the most from your employees, start giving them carrots.

Adi Gaskell is Head of Online at Process Excellence Network.

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