Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

Everyone is Motivated

Posted on April 5, 2012 by Motivo Staff in Uncategorized

A recent McKinsey study found that the best workplace motivators appeal directly to the emotions, with 67 percent listing praise or recognition from an immediate manager as “effective” or “extremely effective.” Non-financial incentives clearly outperform financial incentives.

Compensation and recognition are not synonymous. To be effective rewards must be distinguished from compensation. Cash has no separability as an award. Recognition then must be sincere, timely, relevant and specific to be effective.

Factors such as deadlines, threats, imposed unrealistic goals and external pressure can also have the effect of reducing intrinsic motivation due to the perception of the external locus of causality (Vallerand and Bissonnette 1992). Factors that increase intrinsic motivation – such as choice, acknowledgement of feelings, and opportunities to set own goals – enhance intrinsic motivation due to the greater feeling of autonomy (Deci and Ryan 1985).

Other factors that influence someone’s intrinsic motivation are mastery of their job or skill set along with a sense of purpose. They need to understand the mission and how their work impacts goal attainment. Let’s be clear, you cannot motivate anyone. Motivation is up to the individual. Everyone is motivated to do something. You just have to get them to do your something! What you can do is provide an environment that directs behavior toward the desired outcomes. Sometimes that means using extrinsic triggers to shape those behaviors. Then, over time people will be intrinsically working toward common goals.

A Final Thought

Too often, the term performance is confused with behavior. In human performance improvement (HPI), there is a clear distinction between these terms. A simple way to distinguish them is to view performance as the end result and behavior as a means to that end. Behaviors are thus the actions that can contribute to accomplishments, but they are not in themselves accomplishments. Stated another way, behaviors are what people take with them and accomplishments are what they leave behind.