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Julie Palmer

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation come from very different places. Intrinsic motivation is a natural inherent motivator. For instance we do something because we genuinely want to, it makes us happy, or it is exciting to us. Intrinsic motivation is spontaneous, meaning there doesn’t need to be an outside factor that pushes a us to do something. An example of intrinsic motivation would be someone who plays tennis because they enjoy it or someone who volunteers because helping others is satisfying.

Extrinsic motivation is dependent on external factors. Environmental incentives coerce someone to do something they may otherwise not do. For instance, a workplace challenge with a monetary reward may push someone to work harder for the duration of the challenge. The reverse is true as well. Environmental consequences motivate people who want to avoid an otherwise negative outcome. If he or she doesn’t do their work they will get fired. Extrinsic motivation asks, “What’s in it for me?” or "What will I get if I do that?". 

Although both forms of motivation work, extrinsic motivation is temporary. So, it depends on what you want from your employees. Is what you are asking a short-term request, one that afterward you are good with your staff going back to their previous behaviors? Or would you prefer to have a more long-term change in behavior? 

Creating an environment that fosters intrinsic motivation can be tricky; however, is not impossible. Remember, intrinsic motivation happens when a person wants to do something. So the questions is, how do we make our employees want to work? 

1. Create Teams. Not just any team, but a team of people who have similar goals, personalities, and schedules. People who not only work well together but might become friends even outside of work. Data shows that people are more satisfied in their jobs when they have a friend at work. Teams make work more fun and also provide a launch pad for great ideas.

2. Provide Education and Training Opportunities. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are not good at your job. If you know how to do something well, you are more likely to enjoy doing it. Most people enjoy learning on some level. Make sure your employees have the opportunity to grow and learn. After all, education is one of the top drivers for employee satisfaction according Best Places to Work and Gallop. Not only will this investment make work more enjoyable for your employees but they will likely produce higher quality work and be more innovative and creative. 

3. Leverage a Mentor Program. 71% of Fortune 500 Companies offer corporate mentoring programs to improve employee retention and workforce productivity. Mentor programs provide self-development as well as career development. People enjoy learning from their peers and mentors enjoy sharing their knowledge. 

4. Provide an Intrinsic Environment. Each of the above tools for driving intrinsic motivation is part of creating an environment that naturally fosters an innate response to a psychological need- which is to work hard and produce quality work. Just by implementing these three motivational strategies you can provide an environment that intrinsically changes your employees behaviors for the long-term. 

What do you want for your employees? 



About Us

RivalHealth is a fitness-based wellness platform that engages employees with daily exercise and nutrition activities and sustains engagement through social interaction, challenges, incentives and outcomes.