Why intrinsic rewards are important

There are times when a high salary and numerous bonuses and perks are not enough to maintain employee motivation. How will such rewards matter, if the person is not satisfied or moved after completion of his task? As a professional, we must have felt satisfied or proud after completing a task. As a result of this feeling of accomplishment, which comes from within, we refer to it as intrinsic reward.

What is an Intrinsic Reward?

Intrinsic reward is something which comes from within a person. It refers to the psychological satisfaction one receives upon completing a task or task. The person gets the feeling of pride and accomplishment from within as he/she enjoys the work.

Extrinsic Vs Intrinsic Rewards

On the other hand, extrinsic rewards are something which are tangible in nature such as a bonus, incentive, monetary perks and more. Although intrinsic rewards differ from extrinsic rewards in nature, they are equally motivating for employees. While intrinsic rewards are self-driven, extrinsic rewards are motivated by external factors such as money or tangible rewards.

Benefits of Intrinsic Rewards

Employees who are intrinsically motivated have a wide range of benefits that may extend beyond their specific roles.

Builds Persistence

When employees enjoy what they do, and are involved in their task, they are persistent to complete that task even when the task at hand is challenging. They are willing to go beyond what is required. Such a behaviour only comes when the employee is intrinsically motivated.

Higher level of engagement

Intrinsic rewards entail higher levels of involvement and engagement at work. When the work brings joy and happiness to the individual, the level of engagement is at a very different level which one cannot hope to gain through monetary rewards.

Improves Learning

When the employee is intrinsically motivated, the learning attitude is at a very different level. One is not upskilling for money, but recognition and stature that one achieves after that. An intrinsically employee does not require to be motivated with extra perks to learn a new skill.

Better performance

An employee who is involved in a task which gives happiness, leads to better performance. The person gradually strives to improve himself/herself at work without any external motivating factors. Moreover, such employees are not required to be monitored by their managers.

Builds Loyalty

Intrinsically motivated employees are more likely to be loyal to an organisation. As they are happy and enjoy their work, they will tend to stay with the organization for a longer period of time.

How to motivate employees intrinsically

1.      Creating a sense of purpose at job

Unless we link the task or job to the larger purpose of the organisation and what the company stands to achieve with the same, a sense of purpose does not come. It is challenging for the employees to understand how they are contributing to the larger goal of the organisation. If a sense of purpose is missing, it remains a mere job for the individual.

2.      Find out what motivates employees from inside

Every individual will have a different trigger to intrinsically motivate oneself. Some want to grow in their career and want to get into leadership positions and others may just want to be specialists in what they do. Some might want to lead teams and others may just want to be an individual contributor. HRs can assimilate the motivating factors through internal surveys and research and build their engagement strategy.

3.      Giving Free Time

Allowing some freedom to employees is important to give autonomy to employees. For instance, 3M, an American based conglomerate gives 15% of employee’s time to spend on projects in which they want to work. This allows them to work on tasks which gives them joy and satisfaction.

4.      Implement an employee voluntary programme

An employee voluntary programme gives an opportunity to the employee to give back something to the community. This helps in building a sense of purpose in an individual’s life. It will allow the person to have some purpose in life which will also help him/her in having a higher level of engagement at work.

5.      Continuous Learning

When people are learning and upskilling & reskilling themselves continuously, they feel more engaged at their work. Giving them opportunities to keep learning new skills at their present role or also creating opportunities to build a career in a different field motivates the employee from inside. For instance, if the company can invest in an employee’s higher education, it helps the employee to move up in his/her career.

In spite of this, people still debate whether intrinsic or extrinsic rewards are more important. Each has its own value. Even an employee working in the banking or financial sector also needs intrinsic rewards in addition to tangible rewards in order to remain motivated at work. On the other hand, a writer or a designer who loves his/her job also wants monetary rewards to sustain and see monetary growth. 

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Kartikay Kashyap is a former journalist and a feature writer who carries more than 3 years of experience in covering HR and employer-employee relationship issues amongst the corporate in India for digital and print media. Currently, he is part of the content and marketing team at Advantage Club as a senior content writer.