In the past, rewarding staff used to be as simple as hading them a monthly paycheck and seeing them the following Monday morning, no questions asked. However, in the past 10 years, this has largely taken quite the turn and it’s not just financial gains that employees are after.

Intrinsic Factors

These are factors that come in the form of psychological motivators, it is these that tend to appeal to our sense of personal satisfaction. Studies in this area would go far as to say that the only way to reward staff is through intrinsic motivators. They also argue that employees who are intrinsically motivated tend to outperform their extrinsically motivated peers. 

 Intrinsic motivators can be things such as:

  • The desire for knowledge and self-improvement
  • Sense of importance
  • Autonomy
  • Personal Development 

Extrinsic Factors

Extrinsic motivators are far easier to understand, these factors mainly come in the form of physical assets whether it be financial or tangible. Meaning employees who are extrinsically motivated tend to complete tasks for more of a physical reward rather than a phycological one. 

In simpler terms, the employee does not complete a task for the personal satisfaction they could feel, rather they perform well in order to achieve a more tangible reward that can be used outside of the work environment. However, studies would suggest that these extrinsic rewards could be less motivational or even counterproductive when compared with intrinsic rewards. 

Extrinsic rewards are things such as:

  • Company car
  • Bonus
  • Salary increase 
  • Promotion 

So which one? 

If employers are not careful, incentivising staff can be trickier than first expected. Employers need to make sure that you have set the right motivator for that individual employee, otherwise, it would be like dangling a carrot in front of a horse then finding out that the horse hates carrots. 

The reality is only the employer truly knows which of these is the right answer, as it is they who share a space with them nine to five, seven days a week. The employer-employee relationship gets stronger as the manager will begin to notice the motivating factors of the employees.  

Age of Motivation

In recent decade we are at a pivotal point where baby boomers and Generation-Y are at a crossover in which they are sharing the work environment.  This evidence shows that there is some variation in their age ranging from the early ’20s to mid-’40s or even maturer. Nevertheless, not only is there a difference in their age, but there is also a difference in their key motivations and what they look for from an employer. 

For example, Gen Xers and some Baby Boomers tend to be more financially driven, meaning extrinsic motivators such as a salary increase or promotions is what fuels their desires.

Then you have Millennials, unlike their counterparts, Millennials tend to be fueled by more intrinsic motivators. Things such as controlling their own working hours to taking part in social causes tend to be the driving force of this cohort. Moreover, similar to popular belief, they also like to receive praise and a good ‘pat on the back’ can go a really long way. 

Let’s Recap

If an employer has two members of staff, one was born in the ’90s, the other born in the ’70s and you put them side by side you can guarantee the motivating factor that keeps them getting out of bed every morning will mostly be different every single time. 

The key thing here is that there is no ‘one size fits all’, you can’t just throw money at it and expect it to resolve itself. Instead, much like the ‘King of the Road’ safety ads, STOPLOOKand LISTEN!

Employees all have voices and each one of those voices is different, but employers will only be able to notice the difference if they listen to what they say and what they are looking for.