How Well Does Extrinsic Motivation Work At The Workplace?


How exactly do you feel when your boss offers you a 50% hike? Do you feel more motivated in proving how efficient you are? How is the situation like when you go to a store and cash in the credit card points that you have garnered? Would you want to increase your spending so that you continue collecting points? The answer to all of the questions above would probably be ‘yes’. That’s fine. These recognitions and incentives are actually considered to be external motivators. But, somehow they can’t measure up to the internal ones. Each and every expert that you might come across would tell you this. However, these motivators are not long-lasting. So, how do they actually work in the workplace?

Extrinsic Motivation Can Make People More Determined

Did you ever say, ‘’If I do this, I will treat myself to that.’’, to yourself? This is actually nothing but instantly gratifying yourself. Such a feeling is actually connected to hyperbolic discounting, a concept in behavioral and psychological economics. You tend to get allured by a comparison between immediate rewards and benefits that you expect in the times to come. Considering the experiments conducted, people prefer the ‘now’ option to the option of receiving more in a later period. The same is applicable to motivation.  Even though internal incentives promise to offer a lot more as time goes by, there is uncertainty involved, since you have to wait for long to get rewarded. Another issue related to it is whether you can feel contented doing things just for your own satisfaction, even when there is no certainty that your talent, efforts, and achievements will be recognized and amply rewarded.

Make People Do What You Want

If you can convince others to do what you want is, without an iota of doubt, a skill that sets you apart from the rest. Complimenting them is surely one of the most effective ways to achieve this. You can praise them or even provide positive feedback. In both cases, it’s an immediate reward that can really work wonders. Any sort of compliment has an effect on the brain quite similar to when you receive cash from any quarter. Both are great motivators. As per various studies, getting acclaimed can be a great performance booster. Aside from that, they drive you to be more productive, making you stick to your company for a longer period. With that being said, whenever you are complimenting someone, you have to ensure that there is at least a little bit of truth in your statements. If the praise you are showering is unearned, things might not work in your favor and might backfire too.

Money Is Probably The Most Powerful Drive

You might have heard from many quarters that money is not everything, money can’t buy you happiness, blah blah blah. The fact still remains that money can make you do things that you probably didn’t even think of doing, of course in a positive way. That makes currency, the most powerful drive. After all, everyone is running after it. However, instead of focusing on a particular number like ‘I wish to have so many dollars in my bank account’, try to see things from a different angle, like the benefits you would get by accentuating your bank balance. You can also take into account what all you could do to help people in need if you have that extra bit of currency.

Recognition Can Work Wonders

Often, you might have to work for long hours at your workplace. You do it since you might have a deadline to meet or there is an eagerness to earn recognition or a reward by completing a project well within time. All these reasons are actually external in nature. To many, doing additional work seems to be a burden since it prevents them from doing something else in their free time. But, that’s only one aspect. What about utilizing your free time in doing something constructive like aiming for perfection, building your knowledge base, or sharpening your skills, et al? Work will definitely have a feeling of obligation attached to it. The more refined your competencies are the greater is the chance that you would earn respect at your workplace.

Extrinsic motivation is only helpful with certain people in certain circumstances. It can drive you to work harder. Moreover, it can spring up some predictable outcomes too. The intrinsic motivations are definitely long-lasting and more effective than the extrinsic ones, but it doesn’t anyhow mean that you can’t attain your objectives by deriving inspiration from external motivators.