What Is Motivation in the Workplace?

Motivation in the workplace is often confused with performance. Both are important for a successful work environment. Motivation is the driving force that drives all humans to succeed at their jobs. Performing poorly or unhappy is not only disappointing, it can have severe consequences.

Work motivation “is an array of motivational forces that originate within an individual, to cause work-related behavior, to the direction, intensity, and length of performance.” Motivation is an essential part of the personality makeup of a person. Although people come in all different shapes and sizes, there is one common denominator in human behavior that drives all people to succeed in their chosen field. That drive is what is called intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is what a person comes to work each day with and intrinsic motivation is what that same person relies on to keep them on task throughout their shift.

In order to understand intrinsic motivation, it helps to take a look at the nature of workplace motivation. Recognition is one such motivator and one that is an essential component of overall organizational motivation. Motivational speakers, sports coaches, professors, military personnel, and other leaders recognize the power of recognition in increasing performance and enhance employee retention. Recognition is commonly awarded for outstanding customer service, team building, or group effort as well.

Intrinsic motivation starts the minute an employee steps into your office. It is the push, the pulling, the encouragement, and the constant inner dialog with yourself about your desires for your career, your skills, your capabilities, your goals, and your commitment to achieving them. When you provide a daily routine of appreciation and praise for your employees, you create a source of intrinsic motivation by continually reminding yourself that you can do it, you can reach that goal, and you can do it now. This motivational quality inspires and compels you every day to give your best, giving your employees the confidence they need to do their best every day.

Recognition is not just a reward for good work. It is also a reward for the effort that your employees have put forth and an acknowledgment of their continuous efforts towards success. A well-systemized rewards system is a great way to motivate your employees and keep them motivated. Whether you have a monetary reward or other type of incentive, your employees will appreciate knowing they are appreciated.

Extrinsic motivation is different from intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation involves something that is given without any internal motivation for the accomplishment of the goal. For example, you may pay your employees a specific commission if they hit a target. Intrinsic motivation involves having a source of motivation which gives a certain reward when the goal is achieved. The goal itself does not provide the reward; however, the accomplishment of the goal provides the reward. If the goal is unattainable, the extrinsic motivation is not being used.

There are many different types of motivation in the workplace. However, one thing that all of your employees can be motivated about is the overall quality of your job performance. Employees are motivated by the knowledge that they are doing a good job and that you notice their effort every day. Employees are motivated by recognition and the assurance that someone is looking up to them. Recognition is not only a reward for good work, but it also provides an internal source of motivation every day.

In order to build a successful workplace, employee motivation is an important strategy. Understanding the different types of motivation will help managers choose the best strategies for their workplace. Research shows that a workplace environment with high levels of employee motivation outperforms one where motivation is minimal or nonexistent. Building a successful workplace based on employee motivation will increase productivity and profits.

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