written by: Sonia Zafar
There are many different ways to motivate employees, and everyone is motivated in a different way. Some may be motivated by compensation, and some employees are motivated simply by the feeling of self-achievement. In order to become a successful company, it is important to understand what motivates employees. It is necessary to know what encourages employees in order to increase performance. When motivation is increased, job satisfaction is also increased.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic
There are two different types of rewards that employees can gain from high job performance. One type of reward is extrinsic, and the other is intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are tangible rewards such as bonuses, pay raises, and benefits. Rewards like this are controlled by others such as managers deciding whether an employee deserves a pay raise or not. Intrinsic rewards are psychological, and employees reward themselves psychologically when they perform well. Intrinsic rewards have been more common in recent times because of the variation of work in today’s world. “Extrinsic rewards played a dominant role in earlier eras, when work was generally more routine and bureaucratic, and when complying with rules and procedures was paramount. This work offered workers few intrinsic rewards, so that extrinsic rewards were often the only motivational tools available to organizations” (Thomas, 2009). Extrinsic rewards are still a very important consideration in whether prospective employees to accept a job. Intrinsic rewards may not always be enough to motivate workers.
One of the most common motivators is career advancement. The ability to work one’s way up the company’s ladder plays a very important role in how motivated the employee can be. This requires employers to be willing to open doors of opportunity for their employees so they can advance in their careers (Llopis, 2012). Another common idea that motivates people is job security. Those who have families want a stable future so they are motivated to do their best in order to obtain that stability from their employer.
In today’s world, many people are determined to create an impact in society. They want to contribute by using their skills and knowledge to help their company succeed. Having an impact on others and the company is a major intrinsic reward that employees give themselves. Last but not least, happiness is one of the most important motivations an employee can use in order to perform well. Happiness gives people higher self-esteem which in turn makes them better at their job. It is very common for people to dislike their jobs, which leads them to slacking off and not putting in all the effort they can. Those who are satisfied with their jobs, are motivated to work and enjoy being in the workplace environment every day. As an employer, it is very important to make sure that employees are satisfied with their job. If they are not satisfied, the employer should take into consideration what he or she can do to help.
Levels of Intrinsic Rewards
Professor Walter Tymon developed the levels of the four intrinsic rewards; sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. Each reward is broken down into three levels. People who obtain the high range scores experience all four intrinsic rewards most often, which means these rewards are the most highly motivating for those individuals. The middle range scores experience the intrinsic rewards moderately. An example of this would be a worker who believes that they are performing well but not as well as they would like to perform. They feel satisfaction, but they are less satisfied than they would like to be. Those who score low range scores are not satisfied at work. They believe that the work they do is pointless and meaningless and that they are not capable of influencing decisions. Feelings like this tend to drain workers of their energy and lead them to be resentful about their jobs (Thomas, 2009).
: We tend to think that the way you get people to perform at a high level is, you reward what you want and punish what you don't want, carrot and stick. If you do this, then you get that.
That turns out, the science says, to be an extraordinarily effective way of motivating people for those routine tasks, simple, straightforward, where there's a right answer. They end up being a terrible form for motivating people to do creative conceptual tasks.
: How does the science show this?
: If you offer me a reward, $500 reward, you have my attention, absolutely. A contingent reward gets you to focus like this, narrow vision. If the answer is right in front of you, that's terrific. You race a lot faster. But if you have this kind of vision for a creative conceptual problem, you're going to blow it. You're not going to do anything good.
Solman, P. (2010, April 15). Personal interview with D. Pink
Llopis, G. (2012, June 04). The top 9 things that ultimately motivate employees to achieve. Retrieved from
Pink, D. (2010, April 15). Interview by P SOLMAN [Web Based Recording]. What drives motivation in the modern workplace?., Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june10/makingsense_04-15.html
Thomas, K. (2009, December). The four intrinsic rewards that drive employee engagement . Retrieved from http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com/topics/the-workplace/the-four-intrinsic-rewards-that-drive-employee-engagement