The dynamics of keeping employees engaged and motivated have changed significantly over the past several years. Today, employee rewards, which are known to be the biggest driver of engagement, are based more on new work requirements and the changed expectations of the workforce. One of the biggest changes in this context has been the growth in the popularity of intrinsic rewards, which are increasingly replacing material and monetary rewards. Organizations are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that traditional rewards such as salary increments, bonuses, and other monetary incentives are no longer enough to keep employees motivated.

 A brief overview of Intrinsic Rewards

In order to understand the significance of intrinsic rewards, it is important to first understand what these rewards are. Intrinsic rewards are those that come from within the workforce itself and offer the employees a sense of value for the work they do. These rewards are called intrinsic as they are internal with respect to the work being done by the employees and are achieved by their own efforts. Unlike extrinsic rewards, intrinsic ones are offer longer-lasting benefits as they impact the psychological and emotional aspects of an employee’s personality. It provides individuals with an inner drive to pursue an activity that makes them feel happy and satisfied, which could be their job and the responsibilities associated with it.

Five ways of rewarding employees intrinsically

Keeping their employees engaged and committed to the business objectives is quite challenging especially in the workplaces of modern times. An effective way for organizations to create and sustain a healthy, flourishing, and engaging work culture is to tap into intrinsic employee rewards. Discussed below are five ways that businesses can use to reward their employees intrinsically to enhance their overall motivation and engagement levels:

  1. Grant more autonomy to the employees

Most high-performing employees seek greater control of the tasks and projects being handled by them, at the minimum. Hence, empowering the employees to take responsibility for their job and tasks gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their work. In fact, this increased autonomy is considered by many to be equivalent to the best employee recognition they would receive and thus motivates them to work with total commitment and dedication towards the successful completion of the assigned responsibilities.

  1. Promote the sense of self-fulfillment and being driven by a purpose

Employees, in general, cherish the desire to make a difference in the workplace and be valued for the same. Organizations can help fulfill this desire of the employees by developing an authentic culture of purpose that provides a rallying point for the employees. Encouraging the employees to find meaning in the work they do and promoting employee appreciation activities can prove to be a great first step towards building a highly-motivated and purpose-driven workforce.

  1. Encourage social interaction between employees

Social interaction is one of the basic human traits; encouraging employees to connect with their colleagues from different teams can help in building a positive work culture. Organizations should motivate the members of their workforce to go beyond their assigned work areas. They should be allowed to take a break and get out of the office to do something fun with their coworkers,  enabling them to connect and interact socially; and develop a sense of caring and sharing in the process. Such opportunities of social interaction often prove more effective than any tangible rewards aimed at motivating and engaging the employees.

  1. Provide opportunities for career advancement

Most employees, irrespective of their position in the organization, seek professional growth and success. Providing such opportunities can help to enhance employee motivation levels quite significantly, which, in turn, results in improving their overall efficiency and performance. Establishing a clear career growth path in the organization will motivate them to perform at a higher level and stretch themselves.

  1. Investing in the personal development and well-being of employees

Helping employees learn new skills and competencies that can enhance their personal and professional growth is one of the best intangible rewards that organizations can offer. Showing concern about their development makes the employees feel valued and appreciated. They then feel inspired to repay such gestures of care and concern by giving their best performance. When organizations invest their time and effort in improving employee work/life balance, enhancing their physical, social and financial well-being, they naturally develop a deep sense of loyalty and belonging towards the organization. This drives improved performance and greater engagement of the employees.

Based on the above points, it is clear that intrinsic rewards offer an effective and low-cost way for organizations to engage employees and derive longer-lasting benefits. These intrinsic rewards can create a sense of joy, fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction among the employees, which in turn will drive greater performance.

What are Intrinsic Rewards and what is their importance in motivating the modern workforce?

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