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How can employee motivation be increased?

As far as employee motivation is concerned, there are several things organisations can do to promote it.

Most importantly, they will need to take steps to appeal to their employees’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. You can see an explanation of what is meant by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the table below:

Intrinsic (internal) motivation Extrinsic (external) motivation
This is where employees are motivated by internal factors such as job satisfaction and common values. This is where employees are motivated by factors such as salaries and external constraints.

(Frey and Osterloh 2013)

Factors which contribute to employees’ internal motivation

These things include:

  • Providing meaningful work
  • Allowing workers to make choices with a high level of autonomy
  • Providing opportunities for employees to show their competence in their area of expertise
  • Facilitating professional development so that employees can expand on their level of knowledge
  • Offering frequent opportunities for employees to reward themselves
  • Allowing employees to connect with those who they serve to obtain valuable feedback and give them a path with milestones to monitor their progress

Factors which contribute to employees’ external motivation

Providing employees with external rewards is relatively straightforward and is usually built into individual performance review or individual projects. They are very useful in the short-term to help motivate employees to work toward achieving a specific organisational goal.

Based on Linder’s (1998) survey assessing motivational factors and their level of importance, ten strategies have been developed by managers to increase employee motivation:

  • Developing specific goals for individuals and teams
  • Providing incentive pay where pay is linked to performance
  • Providing feedback, recognition, reward and promotion
  • Providing a level of job security relevant to the current economic climate
  • Providing appropriate resources to carry out work, as well as a safe working environment
  • Sharing information between employers and employees
  • Being clear and consistent on appropriate workplace behaviour and relevant disciplinary action
  • Showing interest in employees and developing positive relationships
  • Providing training and development opportunities for employees
  • Involving employees in decision-making.

Once adopted, these strategies are thought to achieve positive outcomes for both the employer and the employees (Steptoe-Warren 2013).

Your task

Read the article below:

Sanders, B. (2018) ‘Can you Motivate Without Throwing Money at People?’

Now answer this question:

Which motivators, monetary or non-monetary, do you think are most effective in motivating and retaining employees?

Explain your answer in the comments area.


Frey, B.S., and Osterloh, M. (2002) Successful Management by Motivation: Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Incentives. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag

Linder, J. R. (1998) ‘Understanding Employee Motivation’. Journal of Extension [online] 36 (3), 1-7. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_scopus2-s2.0-0008733647&context=PC&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=Primo_Central&tab=remote&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]

Sanders, B. (2018) ‘Can you Motivate Without Throwing Money at People?’ Training Journal [online] available from https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/opinion/can-you-motivate-without-throwing-money-people [1 May 2019]

Steptoe-Warren, G. (2013) Occupational Psychology: An Applied Approach [online] Harlow: Pearson. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=COV_ALMA2137394840002011&context=L&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=LSCOP_COV&tab=local&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Employee Engagement and Motivation: An Introduction

Coventry University