There have been many studies and much research on this subject. The one I've seen, and can't find it now, that made the most sense concluded that the best motivators were those that allowed the individuals to use their own initiatives to make contributions to whatever was at hand--- AND to be recognized for their contributions but not necessarily with financial rewards.
They concluded that financial incentives, Awards, trips etc were only useful for short term and appealed to the lower levels of employees.
Free lunches, pizza parties, donuts, etc never motivated me or any of my co-workers that I discussed it with.
Nice gestures, appreciated but not motivating. People come to expect it every once in a while anyway.
Potlucks are Demotivators! Used to be that everyone brought something special that they made from scratch. People today pick up a bag of chips or a pre-made relish tray at the supermarket or some other prepared food.
Potlucks have gone to pot!
Tell me I'm doing a good job and appreciated and recognize my contribution and I'll bust my butt.
<message edited by Foodbme on Fri, 08/26/11 3:55 AM>