Intrinsic Motivation and Your Employees

Intrinsic Motivation and Your Employees

by Dr. Rick Goodman on September 7, 2017

When you think of employee motivation, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

For a lot of people, it’s money—and not without reason. Money is one of the primary ways to motivate your team members, whether we’re talking about bonuses or salary increases. And to an extent, it’s also one of the easiest forms of motivation.

The problem is, you can’t afford to throw money around to motivate your employees every single day. What’s more, there are other forms of motivation that are powerful in their own ways, and shouldn’t be neglected. I’m thinking specifically of intrinsic motivation.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

If salary bumps are a form of extrinsic motivation—along with things like PTO—intrinsic motivation is all about helping team members feel recognized; helping them to feel acknowledged and affirmed. It’s about showing them that their work matters and that you’re grateful for it.

The importance of intrinsic motivation can’t be overstated. We all want to make money, of course, but we also all want to feel like we’re needed, and that our work makes a difference. Intrinsic motivation taps into those feelings.

Using Intrinsic Motivation

Knowing how best to leverage intrinsic motivation is somewhat dependent on the employee, and on the situation; with that said, here are some general examples and recommendations I’d offer you.

  • Always be clear with team members about the big picture. What’s your company’s goal—and how does each team member’s role help you reach that goal? Help employees see themselves within the overall mission.
  • Provide opportunities for learning, development, and career growth. Show team members that you don’t just want to pay them to do their job, but you actually want to invest in them as people.
  • Offer gratitude. A simple thank-you can go a long way. Make it a daily habit! Be specific in what you thank people for, too. Provide them with concrete affirmation.
  • Provide flexible work hours—showing that you understand the needs of employees with families and other obligations.

Remember that intrinsic motivation doesn’t have to cost you a thing—yet it can make a huge difference in the work your employees do.

Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and one of the most sought after conference keynote speakers on leadership, engagement, and business growth in the United States and internationally.

He is the author of the books Living A Championship Life “A Game Plan for Success” and My Team Sucked “10 Rules That Turned Them Into Rock Stars.” He is also the co-author of the book Jamie’s Journey: Travels with My Dad, written with his sixteen-year-old daughter Jamie.

Dr. Rick is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems, strategies, and solutions that encourage engagement, resulting in increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include Heineken, AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Franklin Templeton Investments.

You can contact Dr. Rick at or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick GoodmanIntrinsic Motivation and Your Employees