When most of us think about why we work, the extrinsic rewards are easy to identify. We like our paychecks, we rely on the benefits our employer offers, and maybe we even get a nice commission or bonus check. At the surface, the extrinsic rewards answer the “whats” we get for working.
They’re easy. Easy to implement, communicate, understand, and measure. It’s money and most businesses are pretty good at managing money.
They’re effective. Extrinsic rewards can be VERY effective. In the history of the world there is literally no activity, no matter how unpleasant or downright evil, that hasn’t been done for money. I once offered my younger brother a quarter if he could run from one side our enormous yard to the other in under 20 seconds. Following each attempt, no matter how fast he actually ran I said, “Almost! Next time you’ll get it!”. I think he ran 10 times before he stomped off in a fury. Best quarter I never spent.
Intrinsic rewards, on the other hand, are directly connected to the work and are generated internally by the person doing the work. We all are motivated by more than just the money, but identifying intrinsic motivators is a little trickier. They are more personal, more ethereal and, some would argue, “fluffier”. I would argue that intrinsic motivators more solid than extrinsic motivators once you understand them.
There are several different intrinsic motivators. They include:
Intrinsic motivators are intangible, you can’t simply offer a person a 10% raise in meaningfulness. They are internally generated by the person doing the work itself and cannot be “implemented” by a third party. Contrary to the “economic” nature of extrinsic rewards, intrinsic rewards are entirely perceptual. Two individuals could perform the exact same jobs and feel vastly different levels of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivators are “thy why” of motivation; “In a world of limitless choices, why am I doing this instead of something else?”
And if none of these reasons convince you to consider intrinsic motivators for your employees, let me appeal to an Extrinsic Management Motivator- They are FREE!
They’re kinda “fluffy”. Meaningfulness? Are you kidding me? Show me the money! You’ve got to believe that these motivators genuinely exist and that they matter. If you don’t believe in them, you will not successfully capitalize upon them.
They’re NOT related to money. There is no plug and play here. It requires a different approach.
We will explore the ways that you can use both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to motivate your teams. There is even a way to capitalize on the “easy to implement” extrinsic rewards, to intrinsically motivate your employees.
Seth Preus is an advisor to Mivation, and the creator of both Racing Snail and Leaderboard Legends. As a thought leader, he uses his 25 years of experience in sales, software development and business ownership to change the equation from “How can I get my team to perform?” to “How can I get my team to WANT to perform.”