Bucket #2: the “me” in engage(me)nt.”

This is the third part of my 4-part series on employee motivations. In general, there are three primary motivations – money, internal motivations, and external motivations. To recap, people are motivated primarily by one of these three things.  There is a clear correlation between purpose and employee productivity and engagement. In order to lead your team in a meaningful way it is important that you know what motivates each and every employee to get out of bed in the morning. 

| Click here to read our installment on the first of these three buckets: Money.

Let’s proceed onto the second bucket: Internal Motivation.

Bucket #2: Internal Motivation

Employees in this bucket go to work because they are motivated primarily by the non-monetary, self-gratifying benefits they receive from work.  Again, everyone has to make money to live, but for these employees going to work gives them something money can’t buy. 

 Internal motivations are benefits we draw from our experience that make us feel good. Think about belonging, acceptance, power, authority, reputation, popularity – basically anything “me” centered, or “ego” based.

Before we proceed, let’s talk about that word “ego” for a second.

 “Ego” gets a bad rap – we tend to think of anything ego-based as negative. But when it comes to money, internal motivation and external motivation, remember that judgement isn’t a factor.  Employees who are motivated by internal, ego-based factors seek the feelings of validation they get at work. This can be the respect of colleagues, the satisfaction of seeing what they create or produce, or a sense of belonging to their work community. 

Like those in bucket #1 (money) these employees stick around as long as their internal needs are being met. They will leave the company to work somewhere else if those same motivations can be fed in a greater way, elsewhere. In this case, motivating starts with, and is maintained by praise. Saying things like “we can’t believe you made that happen” or “we have you to thank for getting us over the finish line” go along way to validate internal motivations.

Now that you have a good understanding of the first 2 buckets, are you seeing “purpose” buried somewhere in there? Or do you think it exists in bucket number 3? Check-in next week for a look at the third bucket, external motivations.


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