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Intrinsic or Extrinsic? 2 Different Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Intrinsic or Extrinsic? 2 Different Ways to Motivate Your Employees

17 Sep 09:00 by Deana Zafir

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As a hiring manager, you like to think that you’ve hired some stellar people. Now that that’s taken care of, you’re stuck with your next problem. You need to make sure those stellar people stick around. Being a recruitment agency, we’re in the business of dealing with people. Here’s what we know about motivating your employees.

Motivation is the driving force that encourages people to achieve their goals. Research has shown that motivated employees lead to increased productivity within the workspace. There are many benefits to a motivated workplace:
 

  • Improved efficiency: Increased employee efficiency leads to better results for the company.
     

  • Increased employer satisfaction: Increased employee efficiency will lead to more satisfied employers.
     

  • Provide employee development: Ongoing employee development allows diligent employees to meet their initial goals.

     

However, studies show that peer motivation, along with the need to feel encouraged and recognized make up more than 30% of an employee’s motivating factor
 

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

 

 

Motivation can be broken down into two types - intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation involves doing something that is personally rewarding to the employee. An example would be, playing the piano because you enjoy music.

How to: Intrinsically Motivate the Team 

 



 

Say you’re interested in motivating your employees intrinsically. If you want this to happen, you need to create the conditions where your employees are happy to do the work they’re doing. One way to intrinsically motivate your employees is by establishing a company vision that is convincing. A company that celebrates diversity or one with a supportive culture and good values will attract like-minded employees. This could lead to intrinsic motivation. 

Whilst extrinsic motivation involves doing something because employees want to consciously earn a reward or to avoid a bad punishment. An example would be, reading a textbook to prepare for your test. 

 

How to: Extrinsically Motivate your Employees 

 

 

It is easier to motivate employees extrinsically...if the reward is valuable. For this to work, you’ll have to find out the type of reward your employees value the most. However, focusing too much on one goal might cause tunnel vision within employees. This will inevitably result in employees with tunnel vision.

Extrinsic motivation also has the potential to create toxic dynamics within the company. It might lead to top performers getting overtly recognized - which will demotivate average employees. Unless it involves competitions, intrinsic motivation seems like the best way to encourage your employees to work harder. In fact, at first glance, it does seem like intrinsic motivation is the way to go. However, this form of motivation is not always effective. 


It is human nature to desire and adore praise - especially when it comes from a manager or supervisor. With this in mind, it is your job as a human resources executive to figure out what motivates your employees, and striking a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. 

 

The Best Way to Encourage Demotivated Employees   

 

 

A smart employer will look at combining both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Examples include:
 

  • Employers who create and identify clear goals (extrinsic) as well as improve the working environment and company culture (intrinsic).
     

  • Recognize and reward employees based on the KPI goals met and their achievements (extrinsic). And extending the same recognition and reward to employees whose behaviour and input aligns well with your organization’s culture.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (Source)


Of course, there are other ways to motivate your employees. The key to knowing what your employees want is by understanding what your workers want. To do this, you must first:
 

  • Identify your audience: The office environment isn’t exactly showbiz. However, by identifying the median age of your organization, you’ll be able to identify the wants and needs of the majority of your workers (e.g. basic health insurance, frequent company outings, etc).
     

  • Keep up with trends: As a hiring manager on the lookout for like-minded talents, you’ll want to showcase your exciting, new company culture online. With millennials making up the majority of workers in today’s corporate world, trendy team bonding activities might be a good form of extrinsic motivation.
     

  • Consult your employees: Ask them! The best way to find out what your employees' value is by asking them. 


Remember Money ≠ Motivation 

 

 

At first glance, money and cash remuneration are great motivators. A lazy employer or human resources manager might believe that raises, bonuses, and cash equals to more motivated employees. However, studies show that in order for raises and bonuses to be motivating, it needs to involve at least a 5-7% increase. In other words, it has to be a substantial one. Since most salary raises are not that high, most have very little motivational impact.

Instead, your employees might find time off or flexible work hours, a better motivator. Here at BGC Group, we like to show our appreciation to our employees by rewarding both the individual and the team. And to keep up with the trends, we regularly celebrate their achievements by acknowledging it on Instagram! This allows us to:
 

  • Train employees to realize the value of social reinforcement.
     

  • Reward both the employee and the colleagues and/or teammates that helped them score their achievements. This fosters a workplace culture that thrives on teamwork.
     

  • Encouraging employees to gain motivation through non-monetary means.
     

Learn more about the humdrum effects of utilizing money as a form of motivation here.

Know of effective ways of motivating your employees? Let us know in the comments section below! 
 

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