What Are Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards in the Workplace

It’s an age-old question: How can you motivate your employees to achieve greatness and obtain personal satisfaction? It’s not a simple question to answer and is much more than giving employees a gold star for them to feel a sense of satisfaction.

It’s also about more than offering flexible benefits, fringe benefits, and giving staff the appreciation by managers that will increase employee performance as well positive emotions.

It comes down to your highly diverse and multifaceted workforce can be difficult to inspire and increase workplace motivation to get good emotional reactions.

Finding the key elements such as internal rewards that will get employees excited to work their hardest can feel like a shot in the dark.

But, don’t despair, the key to success depends on your goals, quality improvement goals, and how you enact them. Do you want to increase employee engagement in the workplace or are you specifically targeting issues like personal health and wellness? Do you want your employees to feel or have a strong sense of accomplishment?

Your role in motivating employees should be considered before discussing tactics as it plays a vital role. But once that’s accomplished, the specific strategies used will depend on your direction.

Creating Workplace Culture and Motivation

Let’s return to the original inquiry: What motivates your staff to excel? In simpler terms, ask why your employees choose to work for your company.

Financial reward is not the only motivation behind their commitment to the organization — there’s more to consider.

Previous studies have been conducted by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan to discover the motivations behind why people choose to work, with six being identified: play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia.

What Strategies Can Organizations Utilize to Increase Employee Motivation?

The initial three factors and previous studies presented by Deci and Ryan are classified as drivers. These are essential when motivating your employees to accomplish any task.

Employees are motivated by meaningful work and opportunities for professional growth, which can be seen as components of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

By understanding the needs of your staff and creating a culture that is centered around helping them to reach their full potential, you can shape, influence, and maintain an environment that encourages creativity, respect, productivity, and above everything else – ongoing motivation for excellence. Without this core element in place, your approach to motivating employees will be very inconsistent.

Now let’s look at the two main categories for incentives and acknowledgment within the office intrinsic and extrinsic motivators

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators

Financial and tangible rewards, like pay increases, bonuses, and other perks, are typical forms of extrinsic motivations.

These rewards are external factors to the job itself and come from people other than the employee, making them extrinsic.

It is important to involve those in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stages of change as they can be key to sparking initial commitment and engagement.

If not increased, the effect tends to be short-lived.

Incentives and intrinsic rewards are powerful tools for strengthening and reinforcing the behaviors most valued by a culture, such as sales commissions and performance bonuses.

Incentives such as sales commissions and performance bonuses can be a strong motivator to encourage the behavior valued by an organization as well as appreciation by managers and human resources managers.

They’re like an electrical jolt to a stopped heart – their role is to get the heartbeat going again independently and give employees a direct path to get ahead at work versus an indirect path where they get lost.

Think of it as akin to a defibrillator — their goal is to get the heart functioning on its own.

Employees may receive intrinsic rewards for doing meaningful work and achieving desired results. The attainment of these goals relies heavily on an individual’s commitment and internal motivation.

These things are key to lasting behavioral changes.

Encouraging staff to self-manage, as well as giving them the freedom to innovate, solve problems and use creativity in their work, can generate extra value.

Intrinsic rewards bring about positive emotional responses. It’s like a pacemaker for an already functioning heart — they help regulate the rhythm of the heartbeat.

Essentially, these devices are like a pacemaker for a heart that is already beating. They ensure the heart continues to beat at an even pace and rhythm.

External motivation isn’t a long-term strategy, as it doesn’t produce lasting results. Many organizations still use extrinsic rewards to motivate employees for a variety of objectives and performance, however, such approaches cannot sustainably incentivize employee engagement related to personal well-being.

Once the “heart” is jump-started by an external motivator, it’s able to beat independently – similar to a defibrillator. Continuous stimulation is not required once the heart begins beating again.

When an external reward encourages someone to participate, they won’t stay engaged for very long if they don’t find internal motivation. This transition from external to internal motivation is paramount.

Where the work culture isn’t based on Deci and Ryan’s motivators, employees are more likely to take on extra responsibilities or do what’s right in difficult scenarios only if there is an extrinsic reward available. While this might help them avoid punishment in the short term, it has a deleterious effect on job satisfaction and engagement in the longer term, which can culminate in burnout and repulsion from the organization.

To sum up, extrinsic rewards and motivators can be instrumental in encouraging employees to strive for a goal in the short term. However, if intrinsic motivation is not nurtured or no longer present due to a lack of extrinsic reward, employee engagement (especially regarding personal wellness) can take a hit in the long run.

Methods for Intrinsically Motivating Your Team

Business leaders such as HR professionals, managers, owners, and CEOs want to have an enthusiastic and motivated workforce. This can be achieved by various types of motivation.

When your staff is energized and engaged, your business operations are enhanced, customer satisfaction rises, and ultimately greater revenues and profits are attained.

Though it can be difficult to keep employees engaged and dedicated in the current age of distraction, leveraging intrinsic motivators can help you reignite excitement, maintain momentum, and sustain a vibrant work atmosphere.

You can establish, promote and foster intrinsic rewards in a multitude of ways as we mention below.

Allow employees more freedom.

Empowering employees to take ownership of their job responsibilities, rather than using a micromanagement approach, will give them a sense of control and enable them to complete projects with excellence.

Wellness committees can be instruments of change by granting them the power to make decisions concerning programming, external events, challenges, and budget allocation instead of just offering input.

Motivate your employees to become self-actualized and find their purpose.

Creating an environment centered around purpose and inspiring your employees to be passionate about the company is essential. An excellent starting point is hiring those with a strong desire to make a lasting impact.

With the right encouragement, your current team can be empowered to discover personal meaning in their work and recognize the positive impacts of their actions.

Incorporate personalized tools and activities that support individual wellness journeys. By providing employees with the ability to cultivate healthier lifestyles and showing them that their objectives can be achieved, they will be more likely to take action toward bettering themselves.

When workers can understand how their work impacts the company’s success, and how the company is making a difference in the world, they become more dedicated and passionate about their roles and overall health.

Encourage social interaction

Employees need to build strong relationships with their coworkers, especially those from different teams or departments. Organizations should foster collaboration offsite by offering employees the opportunity to take breaks and do team-bonding activities together. This will give them the chance to connect, interact, show appreciation, develop an understanding of one another, and more.

Organizations should prioritize employees leading healthy lifestyles by taking proactive measures such as organizing healthy breakfast potlucks, subsidizing fitness classes they take together, or forming walking groups over lunch. Creating these collective opportunities encourages everyone to take charge of their well-being and allows coworkers to motivate each other to lead healthier lifestyles.

Offer growth opportunities

When motivating employees, providing a clear and achievable career path will allow them to demonstrate their abilities and make progress on something meaningful to them. This progress encourages humans, not just employees, to do more and perform better work.

No matter what, make sure to appreciate their work and successes.

Supporting employee growth, development, and overall well-being through investment. Employees need to know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated, in the workplace and beyond.

Completing further education, participating in professional development activities, and developing tailor-made health and wellbeing initiatives are all essential elements of successful employee engagement.

Ensuring that both company objectives and employee satisfaction are simultaneously achieved can be achieved through providing a workplace culture with a rewarding system that emphasizes work/life balance, physical and mental health, as well as social and financial stability.

When employers show that they value employees both technically and interpersonally, it creates an environment where employees are enthused to do their best work, thus benefitting the company’s culture and progress.

Other tips

In general, the advantages of increased employee involvement and a healthier workforce by prioritizing employee well-being create natural incentives and rewards.

Investing in all aspects of your organization can contribute to increasing motivation among employees.

As a company recognizes the importance of taking care of your client’s health and well-being. Thus, when an employee is dealing with physical or mental health issues, managing stress, and anxiety, or otherwise not feeling well, their output in the workplace can suffer.

Due to their current health and wellness needs, many (if not most) employees may be struggling just to keep their jobs, so succeeding is not an option at this time. This can come at a toll on your company’s culture in the long run.

Implementation of a wellness program can improve employee engagement and the work environment in your business.

Effective management techniques should motivate your employees to do their best and safeguard the benefit plans you’ve established.

Choose the Best

If you’re struggling to find qualified hiring candidates, reach out to Search Masters. We have a team of professional people to help you find the right employees to run your business.

Search Masters can find you the right candidates for your business because it utilizes a variety of online tools and resources.

Search Masters can also help you create job postings that will attract qualified applicants and provide tips on sorting through resumes and applications to find the best fit for your company.

Additionally, our guidance on interviewing techniques, salary negotiation strategies, and more are just a call away.

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