Article: Why intrinsic rewards are essential to driving employee engagement

Benefits & Rewards

Why intrinsic rewards are essential to driving employee engagement

Managers and leaders can reinstate trust in the team by trying to be as open as possible, listening to understand, empathising, offering support, and mentoring the team as and when required.
Why intrinsic rewards are essential to driving employee engagement

In today’s tough talent market, it is an ongoing quest of all business leaders to attract and retain the best talent to possess that competitive edge. Organisations realise that talented and motivated people not just bring their competencies but also their heart and soul to work and hence it’s essential that they are offered the most lucrative rewards for their contribution.

Traditionally, rewards only meant pay and financial perks, but today rewards are way beyond that. The concept of total rewards is broader than just financial benefits and if we further focus on human psychology and what motivates people, it is the intrinsic factors more than the extrinsic ones. 

Intrinsic rewards focus on how people feel at a workplace, what is their emotional connection with their peers and leaders, how is their growth trajectory looking like, are they feeling invested, do they feel empowered, and most importantly, do they feel belonged. 

Intrinsic rewards might not look so easy to crack, but it is extremely critical and viable for businesses to focus on intrinsic rewards, as, unlike the financial benefits that can be outmatched, intrinsic rewards are core to an organisation in the form of its culture.

Some proven examples of great intrinsic rewards are:

Creating trusted and healthy relationships

Trusting the talent at your workplace and establishing positive interpersonal relationships is proven to spell a positive impact on the experience and therefore engagement. It has a ripple effect on the individual’s loyalty, commitment, and productivity. Research evidence suggests that when people feel entrusted, they even reciprocate in the form of respect towards their role and organisation. Managers and leaders can reinstate trust in the team by trying to be as open as possible, listening to understand, empathising, offering support, and mentoring the team as and when required.

Offering quality work leading to personal and professional growth

At workplaces, people working on critical projects are often more motivated and driven to add value. They feel respected and valued for their capabilities and thus are driven towards ensuring the success of those projects. Working on special projects also helps people to hone their competencies and learn new behavioural and functional skills, thereby accelerating their personal growth as well as organizational success.

Providing career developmental opportunities

One of the most powerful intangible rewards is investing in one’s talent. The current global workforce is constantly seeking learning and development opportunities. Organisations can create a huge impact on employee motivation by offering opportunities to harness their competencies and learn new skills. It’s also a win-win for the organization as it leads to better performance outcomes, prepares them for future, and serves as a great talent retention strategy by building a strong emotional bond between the employees and the organization.  

Autonomy with empowerment

In today’s era, people see value in being empowered to take decisions. It gives them a sense of ownership and a purpose to do their job. Leaders can leverage this need by trusting people to do a good job, allowing for failures in the bargain, and still backing them up as long as their heart is in the right place. This shall foster trust and commitment, making it a virtuous circle of high engagement and high performance. Identify what your subordinates do well, and what they want to do and reward them to be the whole and sole of such tasks, leading to greater employee satisfaction and zeal to outshine.

Giving the choice of flexibility

People nowadays want complete control over the way they work. All the focus is on productivity, whether it is achieved from home or the office, during office hours, or outside. Therefore, organizations must offer flexibility in this area to their people that shall allow them to balance their priorities, health, and hobbies along with their work thus, feeling energized and in control of their life.

While the above are just a few examples to ponder on how workplaces can disrupt traditional rewards. Organizations should contextualise these to suit their business needs and drive behaviours that lead to an effective work climate. Some steps that shall help them revamp their intrinsic rewards strategy are: 

1. Studying engagement data for their organisation and creating action plans

2. Amplifying rewards mechanisms that drive effective behaviours

3. Communicating the purpose and impact of the rewards strategy clearly to create buy-in and adoption

4. Measuring its success regularly by correlating engagement scores, performance improvement and any other feedback / observation

5. Constantly rethink and revamp strategies to changing times and needs of the organisation

Just as great sportspersons and artists work on developing higher skills and winning for pride, similarly organizations must also focus on creating a work environment that emphasises intrinsic motivation to offer greater employee experience resulting in higher retention and productivity.

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Topics: Benefits & Rewards, Rewards & Recognition Technology, #RedefiningRewards

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