Understanding the Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations Talentoday

Understanding the Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations

When it comes to motivating employees, one size does not fit all. For some people, the thrill of competition for hitting or exceeding key metrics, like number of sales per quarter, gets them excited. For others, discovering the best way to complete a given task, such as finding the most efficient solution for cold calling, might be a source of inspiration. No matter how it happens, employers recognize that maintaining employee motivation is key for sustaining success - especially in hybrid and remote work environments. 

Before launching new programs aimed at motivating a workforce, it’s important to first understand the nature and types of motivations that exist. Then, tailor those available options to meet the unique needs of each employee.

Why is Motivation Essential? 

Obviously, employing and supporting a motivated workforce should be a priority for all organizations. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us just how valuable it is to have a varied approach to motivation. 

For example, a recent survey from Jostle of 400 employees who shifted to remote work in the past year revealed that a whopping 83 percent of individuals reported feeling disconnected from their workplace culture. While productivity may not have dipped in the short term, the fact that a majority of respondents also noted feeling less supported by managers during this time makes it clear that these results in output are not sustainable over the long-term. 

As the way we work changes, so too must the way that managers motivate their teams. As organizations embrace a hybrid approach to work, combining virtual and in-person elements, it’s time to look at motivational practices in the same way. 

To get to the heart of the motivation question, here is the first question every manager must ask: Are my employees driven by intrinsic or extrinsic motivations? 

Intrinsic or Extrinsic Motivations

To start, the concept of separating out intrinsic and extrinsic motivations is a fairly straightforward - yet essential - exercise. According to Psychology Today, “intrinsic motivation refers to those activities you do because you enjoy the activity itself,” whereas extrinsic motivations refer to anything we do because of reasons outside of the work. Extrinsic motivators include salary, job perks/benefits, status and work conditions. Intrinsic motivators include things like recognition, challenging work, purposeful work, achievement and opportunities for personal growth.

Consider the examples mentioned at the start of this piece. A sales team competing for top spot on the quarterly metrics tracker would be a textbook example of an extrinsic motivation. Even though making sales might be related to the job at hand, taking first place in this competition is a motivation tied to results, not the tasks of the job itself. On the other hand, an employee might find joy in the actual process of selling. For example, the step-by-step journey of finding the best times to make outreach and most effective scripts might be exciting in its own right. 

For those motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, there are a variety of ways employers can meet their needs with tailored solutions. Here are the forms of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations identified by the MyPrint soft skills assessment: 

Intrinsic 

  • Responsibility: This motivation dimension refers to the extent that a person seeks to feel accountable. While some individuals find joy in making big decisions for their teams, others would like to share that responsibility with others.
  • Influence: This motivation dimension refers to the extent that a person seeks to influence others’ opinions and intentions. Those that are highly motivated by influence enjoy swaying others’ opinions, while those that are lower on this motivation dimension are happiest when they can stay open-minded to different points of view.
  • Belonging: This motivation dimension refers to the extent to which a person wishes to be part of a group. Individuals who are highly motivated by belonging seek to find common interests and hobbies with their coworkers to create a team feeling, whereas other individuals like to keep their interests or opinions independent from the rest of the group.
  • Challenge: This motivation dimension refers to the extent that a person seeks to get out of their comfort zone. Those that are highly motivated by challenge will always try to outperform their previous goals and achievements, whereas those that are not as motivated by challenge are content working towards attainable goals.
  • Recognition (Intrinsic enjoyment): Those that are on the lower end of the recognition dimension are seeking intrinsic enjoyment. They seek out projects and tasks that they enjoy doing, even if they are not receiving any external recognition for their work.
  • Reward (Need to contribute to society): Those that are on the lower end of the reward dimension seek to work on projects that have an impact on society. They need to understand the greater impact of their work, regardless of the tangible benefits they might receive.

Extrinsic

  • Autonomy: This motivation dimension refers to the extent to which one wishes to control their circumstances. Those that are highly motivated by autonomy like to set their own goals and schedule, whereas those who are lower on the autonomy dimension prefer to consult with others before setting their goals.
  • Competition: This motivation dimension refers to the extent that an individual will seek to outperform others. Those that are highly motivated by competition like environments that encourage public performance metrics, whereas those that are lower on the competition scale will seek to share their knowledge to help work towards group goals.
  • Relation: This motivation dimension refers to the extent to which an individual seeks to have multiple social contacts. Those that are high on this motivation dimension seek out opportunities to socialize as frequently as they can, whereas those who are lower on this dimension desire privacy in their work environment.
  • Recognition (External acknowledgement): Those who are high on the recognition dimension seek positive feedback and compliments for a job well done. The external recognition is enough to keep them motivated, even if they do not necessarily enjoy the work they are doing.
  • Reward (Tangible benefits): Those who are high on the reward dimension are motivated by having their performance rewarded by material benefits. They will often be encouraged to work harder when there are opportunities available.
  • Excitement: This motivation dimension refers to the extent to which an individual is motivated by thrill. Those who are highly motivated by unpredictable environments and the opportunity to take risks, whereas those on the lower end of the excitement dimension prefer safe and predictable environments.
  • Variety: This motivation dimension refers to the extent to which an individual seeks out new experiences. While some individuals seek out diverse experiences, projects, and skills, others prefer to stick to familiar routines and work methods.

Motivating and Moving Forward

Gone are the days of ordering pizza into the office to celebrate a job well done and calling it a day. In the changing world of work, managers need to become more nuanced in the ways they motivate employees. To start reshaping these practices on a case-by-case basis, it’s important to identify whether an individual is driven by intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Only then can managers determine which particular path is right for each employee. 

Are you ready to identify what motivates your employees? Experience how MyPrint can uncover what makes you and your team unique by clicking here!


Why Upskilling is Crucial for Hybrid Teams Talentoday

Why Upskilling is Crucial for Hybrid Teams

Why Upskilling is Crucial for Hybrid Teams Talentoday

There were a lot of things I didn’t know I could do before COVID-19 upended the way we live and work. For example, I already knew my way around the kitchen, but I had no idea I could make tasty banana bread! I also learned how to cook a spicy jambalaya, brew my own beer and, when I wasn’t eating or drinking, I figured out how to use a 35mm film camera to expand upon my interest in photography. In my home life, I would call these achievements “little victories.” Little did I know that, were I to do the same sort of expanding of my talents in the workplace, it would be known as “upskilling.” 

Upskilling is the process of using training and education to deepen an employees’ abilities within their area of expertise. This is slightly different from reskilling, which is when an employee is trained on an entirely new skill set in order to move into a different role. Instead, upskilling is all about building upon an employee’s existing skills in hopes of enhancing their impact on an organization.

While my personal upskilling may not have major implications for the workplace (even if some morning meetings are greatly improved by the addition of banana bread), upskilling has the potential to reshape the way organizations recruit and develop talent – especially as teams embrace hybrid work models. 

The Skills Gap Continues to Expand

As the modern workplace undergoes unprecedented changes, existing skills gaps across all industries are widening. While employees may have entered into the workforce with skills that were in high demand at the time, the rate of digital transformation has increased sharply in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many of these employees behind. According to McKinsey & Company, 87 percent of companies say they have skills gaps or expect to within a few years. Jobs are changing fast, and employers and employees are struggling to keep up. 

There are a few options at organizations’ disposal for dealing with these gaps in needed competencies. In less competitive hiring markets, one appealing course of action would be to bring in new talent to fit the needs. However, today’s recruiting landscape is characterized by a dwindling supply of talent and an aggressive influx of demand from employers. These conditions have forced many employers to look inwards when determining how to address their skills gaps in the years ahead. 

Employees are Looking for a Change

To exacerbate the problem even further, this expanding skills gap comes at a time when workers are beginning to quit jobs at extraordinary levels. In April 2021, the number of employees leaving their companies spiked to approximately 4 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), leading many to refer to the phenomenon as, “The Great Resignation.”

In truth, does anyone ever really want to be forced to find a new job? In the same way that employers would rather retain talent than search for replacements, employees are hoping for reasons to stay at their current organizations before making a drastic move. Take the results of a recent PwC survey into consideration. Their findings show that the majority of workers are open to change, citing that 40 percent of respondents successfully improved their digital skills during the pandemic and over 90 percent of those who adapted to remote work would prefer to continue working in this style of environment. On top of that, 77 percent of workers are ready to learn new skills. 

The issue is not a lack of willingness to learn on the side of employees but, rather, the lack of opportunities for upskilling offered by employers. However, if organizations are serious about closing their skills gap and retaining employees in the face of an explosion of resignations, it’s time to make learning and development programs a real priority. 

Make Upskilling a Priority 

While employers seem to recognize the problem they face, there remains a gap between this recognition and an understanding of how to address the underlying causes. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Gartner, 68 percent of HR leaders cited building critical skills as a top priority. However, more than 30 percent of the same leaders say that they don’t know what skills gap their employees have, how to effectively integrate learning into employee workflows or can’t create skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving skill needs. In short, employers know there are skills gaps to address, but are uncertain where they lie or how to fix them.

The way forward is two-pronged, based first on assessment then solidified with commitment: 

  • Assessment: First and foremost, organizations need to utilize tools to empower them to better evaluate their candidates and employees. Knowing the current capabilities of a team is important, but identifying the potential for growth can be critical. While necessary technical skills can be assessed through traditional means, such as verifying education and certification backgrounds, this must be coupled with a deeper understanding of soft skills. Scientifically-based soft skills assessments can provide insight into an individual’s capacity to upskill into a role over time. 
  • Commitment: Once the workforce has been properly assessed, organizations must then approach upskilling differently than standard onboarding and other job-specific training opportunities. Instead, upskilling opportunities must be treated like the valuable benefits they are. As noted in Fast Company, “For the top tier of talent, upskilling is emerging as a must-have employee benefit, like a retirement saving plan, employer subsidized health care, or paid time off.” In other words, these education programs cannot be haphazardly inserted into existing workflows. Rather, time and space must be set aside for employees to truly feel as though upskilling is a top priority. 

As the way we work continues to change, teams are struggling to keep up. However, by devoting time and effort to upskilling programs, there are win-win solutions available for employers and employees alike. 

Are you ready to evaluate your team’s soft skills to determine upskilling opportunities? Discover the powerful science of people analytics that drives MyPrint by clicking here.


COVID-19 Impact on Motivations in the Workforce

It’s been one year since COVID-19 took the world by storm. Countries started to close their borders and government safety regulations were enforced. As a result of unpredictable lockdown and safety measures, each person’s environment has changed in some way. For millions of typical “office workers” this meant working from home, while those deemed essential continued to go into work with increased risk. With all of this change happening externally, there is internal change that comes with it. How has the move to a remote workspace, social distancing, new health measures, and other pandemic outcomes impacted the things that motivate your employees? Let’s learn more about how motivations work first.

How Motivations Work

One of the most widely accepted motivation theories is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You may recognize the motivation pyramid that has found its way into most every psychology, marketing, and ethics textbook, and it is the foundation for the Talentoday MyPrint motivation dimensions as well! There are five stages of motivation included in the pyramid: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. The basis of Maslow’s theory is that everyone starts at the bottom stage of the pyramid with their most basic physiological needs: food, water, clothing, and shelter. Once those needs are met, we are able to work our way up to safety, and so on.

https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html#gsc.tab=0

Our environment plays a huge role in our motivations and where we’re at on the pyramid. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a lot of people focus on addressing their basic safety needs, like employment and financial stability. Other factors that can impact our motivations include, but are not limited to, changes to our work environment, major family events such as births or deaths, changes in our relationship status, living situations, or unforeseen financial events.

Motivations and MyPrint®

Since we know that motivations are so dependent on our environment, we decided to take a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the motivations found in MyPrint®. To do this, we calculated the motivations that saw the biggest increase amongst assessment takers before and after March 2020. We observed three dimensions that had a larger increase than the others: Recognition, Responsibility, and Excitement.

Recognition: Need for External Recognition

People who have a need for external recognition are driven to work harder when they receive positive feedback and praise from coworkers. When working in an office environment, this will naturally happen more frequently; you tell an employee they did great on a presentation while passing their desk, or congratulate a coworker on hitting a milestone while you’re getting your morning coffee. However, in a remote environment, we need to be more intentional about giving that recognition. Since March 2020, a total of 81% of the global workforce has had their workplace fully or partly closed. Whether this impacts someone directly, or if they are seeing this happen with their friends and loved ones, receiving that external recognition can help to reassure individuals that they are doing a good job and motivate them to continue the good work.

Responsibility: Need for Taking Personal Responsibility

People who have a need for taking personal responsibility are comfortable being held accountable for others’ actions, regardless of error or failure, and are more comfortable being accountable for their own work as well. Moving into a remote work environment means that individuals need to take on more personal responsibilities than they did before: from managing all of their time to taking on pieces of projects that they might not have needed to before. For some people, having more control over their work environment can create that drive to keep them motivated at work.

Excitement: Need for Adventure

People with a need for adventure are driven by situations that offer thrill, seek to take risks and are very tolerant of unpredictable situations. A lot of people have experienced a more stagnant environment since March of 2020. Whether it is due to stay at home orders, travel restrictions, or lack of a commute, we are all going through it. Because of this, it is not surprising that people are craving more adventure in their lives. Work can be a great place to create excitement — from new opportunities to new roles or training, providing an environment where employees can take more risks and try new things can lead to a more engaged workforce.

Check In With Your Workforce

Your workforce is going to evolve over time, and it is important to keep up with those changes! Whether it’s a global pandemic to impact the shift in motivations, or if it’s typical life events taking place, you want to make sure that you are evolving alongside your employees. Changes to an employee’s motivations means adjusting your management style, and by keeping up with these changes, you can create the most engaging environment for your workforce as possible.

We recommend employees take the MyPrint assessment every 6–12 months. Interested in learning more about MyPrint and how our solutions can help you better understand your workforce? Contact Talentoday at customer@talentoday.com to learn more about our assessment and services!