What Motivates Employees?


Quick Answer

There are two types of motivators for employees: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivators are those that give the employee an internal reward, such as a sense of accomplishment. Extrinsic rewards are those that come from outside a person, such as money, time off or a corner office space.

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Full Answer

Extrinsic motivators can be classified as carrots or sticks. Carrots are intended to entice the employee into performing a task better, faster or more efficiently. Sticks are intended to punish employees for not performing at the desired level. Carrots and sticks can be employed effectively for jobs that do not require creative solutions or problem solving.

For tasks that require creativity, it is best to employ intrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are those rewards that come from the employees themselves. Autonomy, mastery and purpose are three main forms of intrinsic motivators. Employees can feel empowered and motivated if they are offered the opportunity to master a skill, control their own work or feel that they are working on something greater than themselves.

Intrinsic motivation must be used with the right employees, situated within the correct jobs. Some employees simply do not have a desire to control their own work life or to master a skill. These employees are best motivated through rewards and punishment.

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