Importance Of Extrinsic Motivation At The Work Place

Dr. Purushothaman
December 14, 2013

Defining Motivation – Extrinsic and Intrinsic

Before we go into the importance of motivation, we need to understand what motivation is. Motivation can be explained as the driving force one has that propels them towards the achievement of goals. In other words, it is the reason why anybody does anything.

There are two kinds of motivation – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is one that comes from within the employee himself. He has a passion that drives him from within and he works because he’s genuinely interested in the job. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from external factors – such as money, promotion, etc. While an employee may not find the task particularly rewarding, he is more interested in what the task will bring to him at the end of the day.

While both are important at the work place, extrinsic motivation is what primarily leads the employees to perform the task assigned to them. Some are motivated by the bonus, others are motivated by the appreciation they will receive and for some it could simply be the motivation of getting back home early.

How to Motivate Employees Extrinsically

There are three main ways that you can provide extrinsic motivation to an employee. The first one is the promise of rewards. And, it doesn’t have to be always about money, either. Some employees hunger for praise and appreciation too. You can offer a variety of rewards to your employees – apart from incentives, you could offer free trips, meal vouchers for the family at expensive restaurants, or movie tickets.

The other two ways are offering growth possibility and recognition. Both are great ways to ignite an employee towards better work. With recognition, you satisfy the employees’ need for popularity and fame, and with growth opportunities you cater to their ambitious streak.

Benefits of Having Motivated Employees

Employees who are highly motivated are the real assets of any company. If you can successfully motivate an employee, they will work more productively, and energetically. They are more open towards assuming increased responsibility and the entire work atmosphere becomes charged with high energy. By focusing on motivation consciously, a company can transform their employees into high achievers and bring down the rate of employee turnover. Employees will be more enthusiastic about coming to work and you will observe less absenteeism.

Extrinsic or Intrinsic Motivation?

Ideally speaking, intrinsic motivation is far more desirable than extrinsic motivation. In the long run, employees who are intrinsically motivated will perform continuously and find interest and satisfaction in their work. However, with extrinsic motivation, the company will have to keep giving awards to their employees to enthuse them towards their work. Employees will find work interesting as long as rewards are promised to them. If there are no rewards, or if they find the reward inadequate, they may end up feeling de-motivated.

Handing out extrinsic rewards can also mean that employees will not look for motivation within themselves. They may count more on the awards and recognition that are coming their way and forget to look at gratification in executing the task well.

Having said that, we have to face the hard fact of life, which is that most employees will be more enthusiastic about external rewards than internal motivation.

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