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Sep 20, 2013 08:36 AM EDT

Bonus Spent On Charity or Co-Workers Gives Better Job Satisfaction, Enhances Team Performance: Study

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Employees across the globe tend to look forward to their annual bonus rewards to satisfy their desires. But, researchers from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University claimed that donating bonus money on charities or sharing it with co-workers increases employee satisfaction and team performance.

The researchers arrived at the conclusion after conducting three experiments. In the first of the three experiments, workers at an Australian bank were given a $25 or a $50-dollar voucher to contribute to their preferred charity on behalf of the company.

Researchers found that employees who made a large donation revealed increased happiness and job satisfaction than those who either did not donate to charity at all or gave in smaller amounts.

In the next two experiments, the experts studied the performance of 11 sports teams in Canada and 14 pharmaceutical sales teams in Belgium after receiving bonuses.

A third of the participants from each team were given 20 dollars to either spend on themselves, or on their teammates. In both experiments, they found that when participants spent their bonuses on teammates, the whole team performed better when compared to individuals who spent their bonuses on themselves.

The scientists also discovered that the superior team performance led to better profits for the company.

For example, in pharmaceutical sales, when employees were given $10 ten dollars to spend on their colleagues, the team made $52 extra in sales.

"The results across three studies suggest that a minor adjustment to employee bonuses - shifting the focus from the self to others - can create more altruistic, satisfying, and productive workplace," lead author Lalin Anik, said.

The study was published Sept. 18 in the journal PLoS One.

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