Intrinsic Motivation – How To Motivate Employees

What is your source of motivation? Do you derive motivation from within or you depend upon external factors. Intrinsic Motivation is the ability of an individual or employee to derive motivation from within rather than depending upon external factors. An intrinsically motivated person is internally mobilized to achieve his goals in life. It is a feeling that come from inside that may or may not have any objective reason. The best example of intrinsic motivation is your hobbies. You enjoy reading, writing, gardening etc. just because you love doing that. You won’t mind spending time selflessly, without any monetary benefits, just because this is something you like from your heart.


The power of intrinsic motivation and the way it can motivate employees is immense. You may not be able to make any change in a person, no matter how hard you try, but the job become relatively easy if the same person gets intrinsically motivated. It is this behavioral aspect of human beings that have large influence in the field of the motivation. Extrinsic motivation gets an edge up if it becomes desirable from the point of intrinsic motivation. Each individual is different and so is their aspirations and belief that makes it a pretty interesting subject.


Using Intrinsic Motivation as a central objective, there are three steps involved in order to motivate an individual or employees. Self Motivation is best assessed from this dimension and it becomes more effective if the feeling comes from inside.


1) It is all about Happiness – Intrinsic motivation is all about happiness. The feeling of happiness that come from inside can make the person go to extremes. Happiness is the way of life. It refreshes our sense and makes things more enjoyable. The time spent by person on things that make him happy is way beyond more useful and productive than time spent in things that he either hates or has got no inclination to do.


2) Happiness comes by doing things you love– Happiness is best expressed by doing things you love to do. Happiness in itself has no significance till the time it gets reflected in things that make the person happy. While I took the example of hobbies, there can be other things too where the person is not only intrinsically motivated but there are also extrinsic factors associated that makes it all the more desirable. In short, happiness needs to be associated with something so that intrinsic motivation comes out naturally by getting associated with it.


3) The Perfect Match between Happiness and Work- Now that we know that happiness comes by doing work that makes us happy, all that is left is to make others motivated through intrinsic motivation theory. It is all about the perfect match. The direct results of the perfect match is in efficiency and the way you organization derive the productivity from employees.


How To Motivate Employees– Once we know what motivate employees, the next step is to create the sort of job profile which help the employees to remain intrinsically motivated. It is all about the profile and how we find or fit a person within that profile that can help the organizations achieve the goal of efficiency. Apart from profile a suitable environment, pay, promotions etc. are other factors that can enhance your effort to motivate employees.



What Goes Wrong- Intrinsic factors on job need to be balanced by extrinsic factors like money, promotion, awards etc.  Most of the managers and companies fail to maintain this delicate balance and this is the reason we have a set of highly unmotivated employees or large churn inside companies. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be proportioned one way or the other but in the end it should always equals hundred percent. The costly solution is to hire a person with high salary for menial job or you can go for more productive and cheap route by playing with intrinsic motivation i.e. respectable salary for the job a person would love to do.


When You Cannot do Anything about Intrinsic Motivation– Obviously last resort is types of extrinsic motivation which I would cover in next post. Yes there are job which no one wants to do but the same needs to be done. It is where the logic of extrinsic motivation comes into picture.



If you are wondering How to motivate employees, you must have got your answer in the form of “working on their intrinsic motivation factors”. They are cheap, enjoyable, and desirable. Above all they are worth it.


Photo Credit- Gulf

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1 Comment

  1. Nice post!
    I find that giving my employees a sense of purpose motivates them.  I there is an assignment that they need to complete, I try to let them know how important they are to the success of the project. 

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