If you had the option to choose between pizza or cash, which would you pick? We know—it’s a tough choice, especially if the amount of cash offered is the same value as the pizza. But what if we threw a curveball and asked you to choose between pizza, cash, or a compliment from your manager?

Those were the choices participants faced when Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist and author, conducted a week-long experiment with employees working in a semiconductor factory. According to the Inc. article, Study Says Pizza Works Better Than Cash to Motivate Employees. But One Thing Works Even Better, it turns out the compliment was the biggest motivator in the experiment.

Here’s how the study worked:

The semiconductor factory employees were separated into four groups. These groups were tasked with assembling a certain number of chips per day over the course of a week. One of the groups served as the control and were not promised anything if they achieved their goal. The other three groups were promised a cash bonus of $30, a free pizza, or a text message from their boss praising them for their efforts.

On the first day of the study, pizza was the greatest motivating factor and increased productivity by 6.7%. The promise of cash proved to only increase productivity by 4.9% on the first day, but by the end of the week, the groups who were promised cash saw a 6.5% drop in overall productivity. While pizza and cash might sound promising, the study showed that the best motivating factor was the compliment.

“When you commend and praise members of your team, you satisfy a basic human craving and provide motivation as a byproduct,” Justin Bariso, author of the Inc. article, states.

As we work hard to create positive and engaging work cultures for our employees, it’s important to remember the impact of well-deserved praise. Offering a sincere compliment or a “job well done,” costs nothing to say, but is invaluable in the eyes of your employees.

If you’re looking for praise-worthy marketing talent, we can help. Simply let us know what gap you’re trying to fill, and we’ll take care of the rest.