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Intrinsic motivation: What is it and how can it be used to improve productivity in the workplace?

Intrinsic motivation: What is it and how can it be used to improve productivity in the workplace?
22nd November 2019

Intrinsic motivation: What is it and how can it be used to improve productivity in the workplace?

Motivation is vital to the success of any business. A highly motivated team will be more productive, and a productive team means much greater business success.

Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation is influenced by external rewards like money, prizes, or praise, and plays a very valuable role in the workplace. No matter how much an employee loves their job, they are very unlikely to work for free!

However, it does have some limitations. If performance is only linked with external rewards, employees won’t take on extra responsibility unless they can see a payoff.

This is where intrinsic motivation comes into its own. Intrinsic motivation is what drives a person to do something because they find it gratifying, interesting, or enjoyable. Therefore it plays a vital role in the workplace, as it keeps employees engaged, productive and — crucially — in pursuit of growth and improvement.

The following are a few key factors that have a significant influence on the creation of intrinsic motivation — and on team productivity:


Research has shown that autonomy boosts both job satisfaction and productivity. Employees thrive when they are given the independence to make decisions and manage their own time and workload. Flexible schedules are a great place to start. Although moving to a completely flexible model may not be beneficial, offering employees the opportunity to work flexibly or remotely a couple of times a week is a great way to foster autonomy and self-motivation.


Knowledge is the foundation of confidence. Providing training programmes and support that steers employees towards becoming specialists in certain fields will prompt them to feel confident and seek out new opportunities and growth within the company.

Purpose & meaning

When an employee feels that their job has a unique purpose and meaning within the company, they’re more engaged and creative. Celebrate your employees’ talents. Let them know how they are uniquely valuable to reaching specific goals, and encourage them to take on tasks that make use of their individual skills.


Humans respond extremely well to praise and progress. Offering your employees the ability to track their achievements and watch themselves hitting targets will generate the motivation they need to stay on track.


Giving your employees accountability for their tasks not only shows that you trust them to generate success for your organisation, it also makes the job their own. So the realisation of goals is not only a company concern, but a personal one, too.

This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.

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