Are Employee Engagement and Employee Motivation the Same Thing?
Frank Sinatra said it best in his classic Love and Marriage, “you can’t have one without the other.” Both are crucial to driving your employees to do big things for your business. Before we dive in, it’s important to explore the idea of motivation itself.
Intrinsic Motivation vs. Extrinsic Motivation
In general, motivation describes the force that compels people to act, or decide to take a specific course of action. However, according to a University of Rochester study published in American Psychologist, not all motivation is the same. For example, when employees are intrinsically motivated, they’re passionate about their work because they either really enjoy doing it, or they enjoy the pride and satisfaction that comes from a job well done.
On the other hand, when employees are extrinsically motivated, they’re spurred to action by external forces, which can be either positive or negative in nature. These employees typically act in order to gain certain rewards (like time off or a bonus) or to avoid unpleasant circumstances (like an angry boss or being terminated).
You probably can see where this is going.
The Relationship Between Motivation and Engagement
Typically, engaged employees are intrinsically motivated. They love what they do, strive to master new skills and are enthusiastic about applying their talents. And there’s a lot to be said for how an engaged workforce can boost any company’s bottom line. According to Aberdeen Group, having engaged employees increases customer loyalty by 233 percent and revenue by 26 percent annually.
Conversely, if your employees are extrinsically motivated, they more than likely need constant prodding in order to produce. This approach may work for a short time, but it’s unsustainable in the long run. Not every task or project can be rewarded with cash or perks. In addition, if employees’ sole source of motivation is fear-based – like fear of displeasing their manager or losing their jobs – they can burn out quickly. In that case, what’s left is a group of disillusioned, disengaged employees who can impact the bottom line, too, but negatively. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that just one of them can cost a business approximately $12,000 per year.
How to Spark and Build Intrinsic Motivation
Luckily, how employees are motivated isn’t written in the stars. Managers can spark intrinsic motivation in anyone – and in the process, create an engaged employee – by providing members of their team with:
- Defined roles: Simply put, employees who understand what they are supposed to do tend to be more productive than those who do not. Ensure employees are aware of the responsibilities and duties of their role.
- Goals: When employees have something to strive toward, they become passionate about tackling the tasks they need to in order to get there. And that feeling of progress is a positive, intrinsic motivator that appeals to almost everyone.
- Purpose: Employees want to know that what they do matters. For millennials, who are on track to make up the majority of today’s workforce by 2020, this is especially important. Show them how their contribution fits into the bigger picture.
For example, if you have video testimonials that cover some of your clients’ biggest success stories, share them. Inspire employees by showing them the difference your organization makes in the everyday lives of the customers you serve.
- Recognition: Just because employees are intrinsically motivated doesn’t mean they don’t require extrinsic rewards to keep their fire burning. The reason why that doesn’t make them extrinsically motivated is that they’ve already done the job when the reward comes, as opposed to needing the reward to do the job.
Recognition can come in the form of bonuses, awards or even a sincere “thank you.” Showing your appreciation for the good work your engaged employees do goes a long way toward fueling their passion and performance for years to come.
Intrinsic motivation is an important ingredient in the stew of employee engagement, and employee engagement is critical to competitive success. Fortunately, inspiring your workforce to passionate productivity is possible with the right strategy. Try to separate them, it’s an illusion, and you will come to this conclusion.
Tags: Brad Richardson, Employee Engagement, Employee Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, Intrinsic Motivation, Leadership, Motivation, Recognition
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