Reward Systems & Employee Behavior: Intrinsic Rewards
Have you ever wondered why some employees are more motivated than others to work at a higher level of productivity? This lesson explains how managers use intrinsic rewards to reinforce positive employee behavior.Effective Reward Systems
A motivated workforce can be a significant factor in organizational success. When employees are motivated to work at higher levels of productivity, the organization as a whole runs more efficiently and is more effective at reaching its goals. This is in contrast to an unmotivated workforce, who can negatively disrupt an organization and distract employees from their work. For this reason, it is imperative that managers understand the power of reward systems and how they are used to influence employee behavior.
Rewards are positive outcomes that are earned as a result of an employee's performance. These rewards are aligned with organizational goals. When an employee helps an organization in the achievement of one of its goals, a reward often follows. There are two general types of rewards that motivate people: intrinsic and extrinsic.Intrinsic Rewards
Intrinsic motivation is internal to the person in that it is something that you have to offer yourself and is driven by personal interest or enjoyment in the work itself. Because intrinsic motivation exists within the individual, achieving it does not depend on others. Some people believe that the most powerful rewards come from inside a person.
Think of that sense of accomplishment you feel once you have overcome a significant challenge or completed an assignment or work project that required a good deal of effort. Intrinsic motivation provides that personal pat on the back or natural high that reflects a person's ability, competency, growth, knowledge and self-control over their endeavors. Employees who are intrinsically motivated tend to work at higher levels of productivity and strive to develop professionally. Intrinsic rewards include things such as: personal achievement, professional growth, sense of pleasure and accomplishment.
Intrinsic Rewards In The Workplace
In a knowledge economy where the greatest asset an employee can offer an organization is their intelligence, experience, problem solving ability and change-savvy persona, intrinsic rewards are especially important to workers. In fact, Frederick Herzberg, who is one of the leading theorists of workplace motivation, found intrinsic rewards to be much stronger than financial rewards in increasing employee motivation. This is not to say that employees will not seek financial rewards in addition to intrinsic rewards, rather it just means that money is not enough to maximize motivation in most employees. People want to feel like their contributions matter.
an employee might want to reach a sales quota set by his manager to earn the bonus that is attached to it, but unless the employee feels a sense of accomplishment as part of making those sales, the motivation to achieve the quota is less powerful. To help employees with their intrinsic motivation, managers should:provide meaningful work
allow workers to make choices through a high level of autonomy
provide opportunities for employees to show their competence in areas of expertise
facilitate professional development so that employees can expand on their level of knowledge
offer frequent opportunities for employees to reward themselves
allow employees the opportunity to connect with those with whom they serve to obtain valuable feedback
give them a path to monitor their progress with milestones along the way