Motivation can come from many sources. It can come from your desire to do a great job on a project. It can come from a spiritual responsibility to always give your best, no matter what your circumstances may be. It might be your desire to prove that you really can do what you say you do! These motivations, however, all come from internal sources. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from external sources.
Does Money Motivate You?
One of the most common extrinsic motivations for today’s workers is money. If there is more money on the table being offered, the modern worker is more likely to do a good job. It is seen as a reward for a job well done, so a job is completed to the best of their ability.
It doesn’t have to be more money in order for it to be an extrinsic reward. Extra vacation time, leeway in taking days off, internet privileges, better grades, or even just a gift at the end of a task are all external influences that can help to motivate. That doesn’t mean someone will actually enjoy the work being done to get the reward. It means that the pleasure comes from receiving the benefits after the job is done!
Extrinsic Rewards Must Have the Personal Touch
Believe it or not, there are workers out there today that aren’t motivated by the amount of money that is offered to them. These workers might like the pleasures that holding a powerful position or title in a company provide or they might like the fame that comes with the completion of specific tasks. If an employer isn’t willing to meet the rewards that influence these people and instead insist that money is actually the best reward there is, then there will be no extrinsic motivation.
Without extrinsic motivation and with internal motivation off the table, nobody will work harder than they must work in order to maintain their current position.
This is where many employers get into trouble. They try to motivate employees, but it is through a cookie-cutter method of influence that some employees just don’t find to be of value. These employees are then labeled as “difficult,” they’re disciplined out of the system, and really the only thing that they needed to do as an employer was to individualize the incentives package being offered.
How Can You Find Out What Extrinsic Motivations Will Work?
The answer is simple: ask people. If you see that someone is struggling with motivation, then ask them what would better motivate them! You’ll certainly get a plethora of answers, but this is valuable information that you can use to enhance the motivation of each individual worker. When you do that, you’ll be more productive and your team will ultimately be happier!
Outside of the professional environment, teachers can use this individual approach to heighten learning potentials as well. Some students aren’t motivated just by good grades. Some students want recognition. Others want extra class time at the computer. Some might want the freedom to use their cell phones in class!
For extrinsically-based motivation to work, it must be based on the relationship that someone who can provide a reward with someone who is receiving the reward. Once that relationship is established, an outside motivation can be effective. So… what motivates you extrinsically?