Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation in the workplace

Hiring Managers Shine Futures Values Based Recruitment
Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation in the workplace

What makes you get out of bed (nor not!) in the morning?

We all have different reasons for getting up and doing our thing every day. The number of times you hit the snooze button, through to the level of energy you bring to your daily tasks is usually down to motivation. However, there are different types of motivation, so how can you use this in the workplace, and why should it form part of your recruitment process?

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivators

Intrinsic motivation means your behaviour is influenced by personal satisfaction. You enjoy an activity, you are eager to learn. You are doing something that makes you happy.

Examples of intrinsic motivation might include:

  • Going to the gym to relax and find balance
  • Reading to learn about a new subject or hobby
  • Taking extra responsibility at work for the satisfaction of knowing you are trusted to take on extra jobs

Extrinsic motivation is when your behaviour is motivated by some external factor, to gain a reward, or avoid an unfavourable outcome. In a corporate sense, company values are often extrinsic motivators.

Examples of extrinsic motivation includes:

  • Going to the gym to lose weight
  • Studying to prepare for an exam
  • Being asked to complete overtime at work because a deadline is approaching and a project is late

“While extrinsic motivation relies on carrots or sticks, which need to be engineered and can eventually be exhausted, intrinsic motivation is a well that you can tap into. Even if the target is moving or shifting, it drives you forward like an engine. You’re not being pushed or pulled: It comes from within. This proves to be more effective in the long-term motivation and retention of employees”.



When to use Intrinsic or Extrinsic Motivators

Both types of motivation are important, and they can have different effects on how an individual pursues their goals.

Some studies have shown that offering external rewards (praise for example) for a behaviour that is already rewarding internally can actually lead to a decrease in intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation can help if an individual simply has no interest in a given task.

If you manage people, offer praise, bonuses and prizes to encourage new skills or take on new challenges. Unexpected rewards can help increase internal motivation, but make sure it is targeted and not for doing minimal work which people may come to expect as normal.

Values Based Recruitment

Knowing that employees have the majority of their intrinsic motivators met, means they are likely to enjoy their work, and ultimately be more productive in the workplace – and less likely to leave. In effect, they will be happy to get out of bed in the morning. This allows you to utilise external motivators more effectively to create a highly performing team.

Values based recruitment is designed to facilitate the recruitment of employees who are aligned with the existing team in an organisation. Assessing and benchmarking the internal values of an existing team allows us to build a profile and predict how new employees will fit; will their intrinsic motivators be met by working in this team?

If you’d like to learn more about how values can be used in your organisation, please get in touch with us.

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