How to Motivate Employees Intrinsically Rather than Extrinsically

Unknowingly, workplaces and schools often create environments which discourage the very rules and norms which they set in. Most modern-day schools and workplaces aim to educate their employees and students to find their motivation intrinsically; however, at the same time, they incentivize targets and offer a reward on goal achievements. It’s not just the schools, but just about everywhere because believe it or not, some kind of achievements and acknowledgement always deliver strong motivation. 

A reward system is an extrinsic type of motivation. 

They may motivate an individual to achieve their desired goals and objectives; however, the motivation behind such achievements is what you can term as limited or short-lived. Such motivation never lasts. 

Once the project concludes and an employee earns the achievement, their motivation immensely spirals down & in the wake of seeing that opportunity again, they dumb their expertise to the median. 

Lori Kay Baranek, in her thesis, “The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement” says: 

“Well-intentioned rewards can have a more negative impact on an individual’s self-being than a positive one. It incredibly hurts the individuals’ motivation as the employee is only rewarded for a certain task. Once, the task ends, so does the motivation and they resist to perform in the future. This sustains until they don’t see another achievement window. Some even perform their worst just to make sure that the opportunity can come their way once again so they can have that recognition.”

Our society is creating what we can term as “reward resistance” and leaders need to break that. Here are some ways how leaders can motivate their subordinates to motivate themselves intrinsically rather than extrinsically.

Motivate them to Perform an Action for the Sake of Action

Author Daniel Pink, in his book Drive, discusses the case of using extrinsic motivators. According to Daniel, incentivizing tasks can often lead to the minimization of creative ideas and as people aim to deliver quantity instead of quality. It was also found that their focus narrows down and the chances of error become more prominent. They also run out of creative ideas and as a result, underperform.

It’s why in businesses, CEOs hire managers who can incite creativity, curiosity and innovative thinking. Yet, the element of extrinsic motivation is abundantly found as a common practice in organizations. When a person feels motivated to perform because of outside actions, he or she is extrinsically motivation. And when that same person feels motivated to perform an action for the sake of action, they are intrinsically motivated. People driven by intrinsic motivation are well appropriately fueled up. 

Psychologists conclude that intrinsic motivation comes from within, it cannot be forced on someone. Hence, instead of sizing up rewards, managers must address how to change conditions to motivate. 

How to Create Conditions That Thrives Motivation? 

Start with the Relatedness

Chain, Chain Link, Connection, Related

One of the best ways to foster a culture of intrinsic motivation among employees or subordinates is to compel them to ask, “Why?” Why do they do what they do and is it because they want to polish themselves or just do a regular job? If an employee or a student only comes to the workplace or school to fulfil their duties to the society, as a leader you are tasked with the responsibility of changing that. Help find your sub-ordinates to answer the relatedness with what they do instead of rewarding. 

Explain the Purpose of Task 

Miniature Golf, Sport, Leisure, Play, Field, Mini, Ball

When assigning a certain task to a group of individuals ensure that you explain the purpose of the task from a broader perspective. Give them an idea of what fulfilling a particular task is going to help the organization achieve and at the same time, how it is going to benefit building their own personas. Knowing the pros of the project can often motivate them to learn more exasperatingly then to just aim to achieve a list of goals and objectives in the wake of earning a monetary benefit or a certain reward. 

Establish Autonomy

Justitia, Goddess, Goddess Of Justice, Goddess Of Truth

As a leader, you can allow businesses to create enough space for individuals so they can make their own choices and take control of the project wherever it is possible. One way of doing so is to utilize a goal-setting framework which can enable team members to create and set their own individual goals. A framework commonly known as the “objectives and key results” framework can help set goals. Here an organization shares its high-level objectives with teams so they feel intrinsically motivated to work. 

Fuel up an Air of Competency 

Competence, Experience, Hand, Magnifying Glass

Change the perspective of praising employees on achievements rather than personal professional progress. When you see an employee develop a new skill or excel in his current one, take the praise to him rather than the one who is desperately trying to achieve a monetary reward. In this way, you will cultivate an air of competency within your workforce, and people will feel more inclined at developing their skillset rather than focus on earning rewards. Feed the element of growth based on expertise. 

These are some of the credible ways how organizations can break the bad habit of extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation and Extrinsic motivation are both credible ways to motivate employees. However, if you want everlasting results, start motivating employees intrinsically now. 

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