Increasing Employee Motivation Through Intrinsic Rewards

Published: Nov 17, 2017
Modified: Jun 01, 2020


On any work team, there are times when people need a pick-me-up or seem to have lost their steam. Employee motivation could be the secret that moves them toward achieving a goal.

Employee motivation plays a big part in job satisfaction and engagement. It's one of the basic pillars of management because motivation is what drives all of us to succeed. The factors that provide motivation are different for each person, so it’s important for managers to focus on the needs of the individual to tailor their motivational efforts and rewards.

One of the best ways to reward employees is to give them more responsibility at work; this is a form of intrinsic motivation.

Using intrinsic rewards to increase employee motivation

Intrinsic motivation is related to internal factors, and intrinsic rewards are inherent in the work itself. Here are some common intrinsic rewards presented in AMA’s Successfully Managing People seminar:

  • Having autonomy on the job
  • Being accountable only for your own work
  • Taking responsibility for a complete unit of work
  • Feeling like an expert
  • Feeling pride in your work
  • Believing your work makes an important difference
  • Enjoying your work

Why employee motivation matters

By focusing on intrinsic motivation, managers can reward employees for hard work and dedication and help them develop as business professionals. And as noted in the AMA seminar, those who look at the individual (not the group) and his or her specific values—what drives that person—will stand out as an effective manager. Giving employees more responsibility or an entire project to work on that they are passionate about is a good place to start. It will motivate and enable them to feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work, and it can build their confidence as well.

Remember that rewarding an employee does not require a bonus or gift. When you give them additional responsibility, the results are impactful. This approach can lead to greater engagement and job satisfaction, along with a feeling of being valued.