Intrinsic motivation is defined as a behaviour that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behaviour arises from within because it is naturally satisfying to us. This is very different to extrinsic motivation which involves engaging in a behaviour in order to earn external rewards or to avoid punishment.
Intrinsic Motivation in the workplace
Once we start to understand the implications of intrinsic motivation, it becomes clear that it’s important to develop a culture and way of working that fosters and maintains it in their employees.
Not everybody gets motivated by additional challenges, nor does everyone enjoy great levels of autonomy.
The first step is to get to know your employees well and to figure out what makes them tick as many people are motivated by different things., When you know which of the intrinsic factors motivate each individual, it’s easier for you to start using them.
Factors that can influence intrinsic motivation
- Challenge: People are more motivated when they pursue goals with personal meaning and when attaining the goal is possible but not necessarily certain. These goals may also relate to their self-esteem when performance feedback is available.
- Control: People want control over themselves and their environments and want to determine what they pursue.
- Cooperation and competition: Intrinsic motivation can be increased in situations where people gain satisfaction from helping others. It also applies to cases where they can compare their performance favourably to that of others.
- Curiosity: Internal motivation is increased when something in the physical environment grabs the individual’s attention (sensory curiosity). It also occurs when something about the activity stimulates the person to want to learn more (cognitive curiosity).
- Recognition: People enjoy having their accomplishments recognised by others, which can increase internal motivation.
Understanding motivation in the workplace can be a crucial step towards creating a sense of purpose in employees. Most organisations have a unique method that motivates people, but above all, intrinsic factors play a more significant role.
Striking the right balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation might be the key to overall business success.
For more information on employee engagement please feel free to get in touch.