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Intrinsic Motivation: Non-financial Motivators for your Employees

5 min read
how to apply intrinsic motivation methods to satisfy your employees

Motivation is one of the business’s main concerns as it affects crucial aspects of organizations, such as productivity and performance levels. Since the beginning of the 20th century, many businesses started to realize the importance of motivation on employees’ performance and the overall results. These companies adopted certain monetary-based practices in motivating their workers. With today’s age of modernization, however, intrinsic motivation is becoming more popular as employees realize the importance of other intangible benefits.

Before we start examining the intrinsic motivation methods, we must first differentiate between what is called extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Firstly, extrinsic motivators are generally external factors that encourage employees to work in order to receive these rewards. They are typically characterized by financial rewards such as wages, bonuses, benefits, etc. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is based on other non-financial and intangible methods that change how employees perceive their jobs. This makes employees enjoy what they do regardless of the financial benefits attached to it.

Common Intrinsic Motivation Methods

Although these intrinsic non-financial motivators are not as popular as the extrinsic financial ones, they proved to be far more effective in motivating employees in the workplace. The most common non-financial methods are:

Job security

One of the most important factors for employees to feel appreciated in an organization is the sense of security in their positions. It is such an easy thing to do, yet many employers do not give it the attention it deserves. In particular, workers want to feel that the manager is not planning to fire them at the first convenience. This feeling demoralizes employees and makes them seek opportunities at other places. Most of the time, this feeling is the result of miscommunication between managers and their subordinates. If employers manage to avoid giving such negative signals and focus on appreciating their employees, workers will become highly motivated to commit to the organization. If you want to learn more about how to improve the communication across your organization, refer to our article about internal communications.

Job redesign

Job redesign refers to the reconstruction of positions, tasks and responsibilities. This technique helps employees avoid boredom and gives them more variety in their daily tasks, making the most use of their skills and talents. Job redesign usually involves three forms, which are:

  • Job rotation: refers to the periodic circulation of tasks and positions among employees at the same level. This rotation allows employees to gain a variety of skills and experiences by undertaking a combination of different jobs every day.
  • Job enlargement: refers to expanding the breadth of duties and tasks by increasing the quantity of same-level assignments.
  • Job enrichment: refers to enhancing the scope and depth of the roles that an employee does by adding more high-level tasks and improve the quality of their work.

Managers commonly utilize one or more of these techniques to redesign the job to be more appealing to employees. This positively impacts employees’ motivation levels.

Empowerment and autonomy

Another way to reconstruct the job to make it more appealing to employees is empowerment. Empowerment and autonomy give employees more freedom and decision-making power. This will provide them with a sense of significance and high responsibility in the organization. As employees feel more empowered and appreciated, they will become more interested in their jobs. Therefore, increasing the levels of innovation, efficiency, and quality of products or services produced.

Job recognition

Job recognition involves granting financial and non-financial praises and rewards to employees who show commitment and high work ethic. To implement this effectively, Employers utilize various means such as employee of the month, employee appreciation programs, even words like thanks and good job! Employee recognition programs are an easy way to motivate your employees by just appreciating their hard work and recognizing their significance in your business. If you are interested in finding out more ways to show appreciation for your employees, check out our article, “10 Ways to Show Appreciation for your Employees.”


Believe it or not, merely training your employees to do their job increases their satisfaction levels. Training positively affects employees’ motivation as it focuses on personal and career development, which tremendously help them to achieve better results in the organization. Training also helps employees to understand their position’s significance within the organization. However, you should keep in mind that undertaking a successful training program could be very costly and hard to implement.

Performance appraisal and feedback

Performance appraisal programs are designed to systematically measure employees’ performance against pre-set standards and expectations and communicate feedback to employees. Appraisal programs can also be used as a motivational tool as it focuses on identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses and performance-based rewarding. Managers can utilize this in order to provide a sense of direction and purpose in the organization. Additionally, employees can use it to communicate their difficulties and issues.

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Benefits of Adopting Intrinsic Motivation Strategies

Now that we have discussed the main methods by which managers can intrinsically motivate their employees, we can move on to examine the numerous benefits you can attain from implementing these methods.

Lower costs

One of the most notable benefits of intrinsic motivation techniques is that they, on the contrary to financial ones, are not based on monetary rewards or bonuses. Instead, they involve making the employee feel intrinsically satisfied by merely doing their job. This results in significant reductions to unnecessary spending while gaining better results on employees’ motivational levels.

More effectiveness on motivation

One of the potential problems with motivating your employees by solely extrinsic methods is that you build a working mentality that is not focused on the work itself but the rewards attached to it. This culture may not have a strong impact on employees’ motivation. It can also lead to unethical practices by employees to attain rewards. On the contrary, non-financial motivators are based on encouraging employees to take the initiative and show commitment to work intrinsically. If implemented correctly, it would lead to longer-lasting and more effective results on employees’ motivation than non-financial ones.

Directly affects employees’ performance

Undoubtedly, highly motivated employees engage more passionately in work, fostering their performance and making them more productive. As some intrinsic motivation techniques touch on some key factors that affect performance such as training, job redesign, etc., they can have a direct impact on employees’ performance and their productivity levels in their jobs. For instance, training improves employees’ capacity for utilizing their skills and talents to be more effective in doing their job.

Better overall results for the organization

Surely, non-financial motivators leave positive impacts on employees’ welfare, which leads to better overall results on an organizational level. These benefits include:

  1. Employee retention and less turnover: as discussed above, non-financial factors like empowerment and job recognition give a sense of belongingness and significance for employees leading to more satisfaction levels. This satisfaction, when generalized on the entire company, will lead to less employee turnover as they would want to stay and excel in their company.
  2. Better team dynamics: Some methods such as job redesign are based on reallocating and rotating employees throughout the organization allowing them to exchange skills and expertise. This will result in more collaboration and good interpersonal relationships. It will also reduce the number of disputes and issues among employees.
  3. Improve the quality of products and services: As we discussed above, one of the intrinsic motivation techniques is Training. The introduction of training programs will improve employees’ performance and productivity leading to better products and services provided.
  4. Improve employer-branding image: Employer branding refers to the company’s reputation as a work environment. By increasing motivation levels, the company would be able to easily attract and retain the best minds in the industry.


Many managers make the mistake of being entirely dependent on financial methods to motivate their employees, disregarding other aspects that could be equally important. Similarly, some go to the other extreme, implementing only intrinsic motivation methods. Employees do care about non-financial aspects of the business and consider it to be crucial for their well being. However, at the end of the day, they want to earn money and be fairly compensated for their hard work. Therefore, you should equip your business with the right balance of financial and non-financial motivators in order to achieve the best results on your employees’ satisfaction levels.

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