Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

Increasing Intrinsic Motivation

Posted on July 20, 2012 by Motivo Staff in Uncategorized

So, you want to have a workforce of fully engaged employees who will give the company their best effort and then some. Enthusiastic, energetic employees committed to the mission are an important asset to any company, especially if they are willing to go above and beyond to give of themselves at a consistently high level.

The only way you will have their best effort is if they are truly motivated. That comes from deep inside a person as an internal drive to achieve a goal. The question becomes is that something only a select few have or can it be fostered? Everyone is motivated to do something. The challenge is to get them to do your something!

So, how do you go about building an environment that engenders engagement and enkindles intrinsic motivation? The answers are simple but the execution is difficult because many factors must be in place first. Consider these 4 factors:

  1. Security – does the employee have a relative secure position? I don’t mean a guarantee but a reasonable expectation that tomorrow they will have a job!
  2. Salary – is the pay scale at or above industry average? Is pay commensurate with the position? Is it perceived as fair and equitable?
  3. Value – is what the company doing of value in the marketplace? Does the employee understand the mission and how their job impacts that? In other words, is what I do of value?
  4. Respect – Everyone needs and wants to be respected as people and employees who contribute to the company success. Are they shown frequently how much the company appreciates their efforts?

Once these basic tenets are supported, then you can begin to create a high performing culture. In the book The Effort-Net Return Model of Employee Motivation: Principles, Propositions, and Prescriptions by Philip C. Grant, 4 Principles of Intrinsic Motivation are asserted. You can use these principles to begin creating the environment you want.

Principle 1: Employees Will Be Motivated When They Perceive that Effort Leads to Performance

Employees must sense that effort will pay off in terms of performance – that higher effort will yield better performance. The stronger the perceived correlation, the stronger the motivation will be.

Principle 2: Employees Will Be Motivated When They Perceive that Performance Leads to Reward

Employees must sense that performance pays off–that it will yield desired positive outcomes. The stronger the perceived correlation between performance and desired rewards (positive outcomes) the stronger the motivation is.

Principle 3: Employees Will Be Motivated When They Perceive a Reward will be of Value and Meaningful to them

Negative outcomes from work can overshadow rewards and render a high-quality reward system relatively useless for employee motivational purposes. Things like stress, fatigue, fear, etc. must be negated and overcome by rewards seen as highly desirable and worth the effort.

Principle 4: Employees Will Be Motivated When They Perceive Little “Pull” from Alternative Goal Systems

One must not be drawn in too many directions to get the job done. One reason workers do not exert higher on-the-job effort is because to do so they must give up something. That something is the satisfaction gained (or dissatisfaction avoided) by participating in alternative goal systems. There is only so much effort to go around!

Stay focused and apply these principles faithfully. You will begin to see changes in your culture and the level of performance will increase for that large group of employees who need something extra to direct behavior and activate their motivation!