Intrinsic VS Extrinsic Motivation

14th July 2012

You know that moment, when you are sitting at your desk at work, feeling like you’re glued to your seat, trapped and with an intense feeling of despondency.That moment when realisation hits that you have lost all motivation for your job despite the fact that you are being paid to provide a service. I bet you know exactly what I mean. We all do. 

Motivation is an fundamental part of employee satisfaction, in order to successfully employ top candidates and maintain employee retention,employers have got to distinguish a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation basically boils down to being motivated from within, feeling satisfied with a job well done. Intrinsically motivated people will do a task just based on the fact that they get some satisfaction from completing the challenge. Extrinsic motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or recognition. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide.

Are your employees challenged by their job descriptions, tasks and overall outcomes of achievements given?
Why Intrinsic Motivation Matters:

  • Sense of purpose. This reward involves the meaningfulness or importance of the purpose you are trying to fulfill. Employees feel that they have an opportunity to accomplish something of real value,something that matters in the larger scheme of things.
  • Freedom of choice. The freedom to choose how to accomplish their work, using their best judgment to select those work activities that make the most sense to you and to perform them in ways that seem appropriate. Employees feel ownership of their work, believe in the approach they are taking, and feel responsible for making it work.
  • Level of competence. Handling of work activities well, the performance of these activities meets or exceeds personal standards, and that they are indeed doing good, high-quality work. The sense of satisfaction, pride, or even artistry in how well we handle these activities.
  • Achieving progress. Encouraging and validating that the employees efforts are really accomplishing something.

Why Extrinsic motivation is still vital:

  • Bonuses or pay raises that are given for extra effort can encourage future effort. Employees that meet or exceed sales goals may also be motivated by paid vacations or other prizes.
  • Written feedback can boost the ego, and is typically remembered longer than verbal praise.
  • Verbal praise, such as telling someone they did a good job, is a simple and often effective means of extrinsic motivation. Explaining in detail the reasons for the praise increases the effectiveness of this type of motivation.

Although extrinsic motivation is easier to manufacture it may lead to difficulty concentrating,procrastination and ultimately defeats the purpose if the employee is not happy and therefore the company’s goal are not achieved or succeeded by the new employee.