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What Is Extrinsic Workplace Motivation? 5 Effective Ways to Motivate Your Team

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
There is a sign set up saying “You Got This” next to an open silver laptop sitting on the desk.


Build­ing a team of moti­vat­ed employ­ees should be the goal of every mod­ern orga­ni­za­tion. Peo­ple achieve a cer­tain lev­el of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and suc­cess when they are inspired. That’s why there are count­less blogs and end­less lit­er­a­ture on var­i­ous web­sites out­lin­ing unique and trust­ed ways to moti­vate employees.

Many paint moti­va­tion as an easy thing that can be con­quered using sim­ple tech­niques. How­ev­er, it’s a pret­ty com­plex top­ic. Humans are com­pli­cat­ed crea­tures who have indi­vid­ual needs, desires, goals and per­spec­tives, and as a ratio­nal employ­er might expect, what moti­vates a per­son varies great­ly depend­ing on their social and cul­tur­al back­grounds, needs, hob­bies and personalities.

Extrinsic Motivation, Explained

A person is sitting at her desk while on their phone and laptop. They are wearing a black blazer with a white shirt, and they are smiling while talking on the phone.


Moti­va­tion is the sym­bol­ic key to unlock­ing a person’s true poten­tial. A moti­vat­ed employ­ee will think out­side the box, pro­mote their com­pa­ny, seek career devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties and look for­ward to com­ing to work every day. To tru­ly inspire their team, employ­ers must under­stand the dif­fer­ent types of moti­va­tion and how to use them.

The Difference Between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

There are two types of rec­og­nized moti­va­tion: intrin­sic and extrinsic.

Intrin­sic moti­va­tion is guid­ed by inter­nal rewards that are not typ­i­cal­ly affect­ed by the out­side world. This is the type of moti­va­tion peo­ple feel when they work on some­thing they love and care about.

This moti­va­tion isn’t dri­ven by exter­nal incen­tives like good grades, mon­ey or prizes. It’s dri­ven by an inter­nal sense of accom­plish­ment, love of a sub­ject or pride in their work. Intrin­sic moti­va­tion is incred­i­bly valu­able, but it’s not some­thing an employ­er can always access or use to build an enthu­si­as­tic team.

Extrin­sic moti­va­tion is cre­at­ed by exter­nal rewards, almost exclu­sive­ly affect­ed by the out­side world, includ­ing friends, fam­i­ly, teach­ers, cowork­ers, employ­ers, social media and soci­ety. This is the kind of moti­va­tion that orga­ni­za­tions can har­ness and use to build enthu­si­asm with­in their team. If uti­lized suc­cess­ful­ly, employ­ees should be hap­py, moti­vat­ed and dri­ven to achieve.

5 Ways to Build an Enthusiastic Team

Four people are celebrating with their arms in the air and smiles on their faces while there are papers and a laptop are sitting on the table.


Receiv­ing fair com­pen­sa­tion and tra­di­tion­al ben­e­fits like health insur­ance and retire­ment plans are tech­ni­cal­ly con­sid­ered forms of extrin­sic moti­va­tion, but they aren’t enough to inspire employ­ees. If employ­ers want to have a gen­uine and sig­nif­i­cant impact on their team, they must go beyond what’s gen­er­al­ly expected.

1. Create Good, Old-Fashioned Incentive Programs

This may sound like an obvi­ous choice, which is exact­ly why it’s list­ed here. This is the old­est, most trust­ed and effec­tive way to moti­vate peo­ple. Cash bonus­es, gift cards, comped meals and extra points for their Fringe ben­e­fits account all pro­vide a lit­er­al incen­tive to achieve greatness.

If team mem­bers need a lit­tle extra cash, a bonus can be high­ly moti­vat­ing. Gift cards and comped meals allow them to go out with their friends, fam­i­ly or sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers. Addi­tion­al­ly, this gives con­trol back to the employ­ee to have a hand in reach­ing a goal they’re direct­ly impact­ed by and excit­ed about.

2. Provide Comprehensive Training Programs

Three people are in a training session while sitting at their desks with their laptops open.


This strat­e­gy starts with the hir­ing process. Orga­ni­za­tions should hire based on expe­ri­ence, edu­ca­tion, per­son­al­i­ty and ener­gy. If lead­ers cre­ate clear expec­ta­tions and seek those expec­ta­tions from their appli­cants, they can build an excel­lent team.

It’s also impor­tant to remem­ber that edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence go a long way, but no com­pa­ny should lim­it itself. A per­son with bound­less moti­va­tion and infec­tious ener­gy who admit­ted­ly lacks prop­er expe­ri­ence or edu­ca­tion can pos­i­tive­ly impact an entire team.

Once an orga­ni­za­tion has built its team, orga­ni­za­tions should pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive train­ing pro­grams, ensur­ing that all employ­ees know the scope and expec­ta­tions of their job. Noth­ing is more demo­ti­vat­ing than being thrown into the deep end with­out a life jack­et. Employ­ers should take the time to teach their peo­ple every­thing they need to know to do their jobs well.

3. Positively Recognize Hard Work and Productivity

When an employ­ee works hard, employ­ers should reward them. This strat­e­gy cor­re­lates with the incen­tive pro­gram strat­e­gy, but it’s not lim­it­ed to that. Gift cards, flow­ers and finan­cial incen­tives are excel­lent ways to rec­og­nize peo­ple, but pos­i­tive rein­force­ment is just as valuable.

Lead­ers should con­sid­er cre­at­ing week­ly or month­ly employ­ee recog­ni­tion pro­grams. When team mem­bers achieve a big goal or work hard on a project, that behav­ior should be rec­og­nized. Depend­ing on the per­son, a pub­lic post on social media or a pri­vate email voic­ing pos­i­tive affir­ma­tion can go a long way in help­ing them feel appre­ci­at­ed and valued.

4. Open Various Channels to Facilitate Communication

Employ­ers and super­vi­sors should do every­thing in their pow­er to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that val­ues speak­ing, lis­ten­ing and being heard. Pos­i­tive and open com­mu­ni­ca­tion builds trust between employ­ees and their orga­ni­za­tions. It also gives peo­ple the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk open­ly about things that affect them, so they nev­er feel under­val­ued or disrespected.

A hap­py team is a moti­vat­ed team. Lead­ers should focus time and ener­gy on build­ing pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships with­in their orga­ni­za­tion. Team build­ing exer­cis­es, one-on-one coach­ing ses­sions, career devel­op­ment and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties are all spec­tac­u­lar prac­tices that orga­ni­za­tions should use to boost com­mu­ni­ca­tion and build long-last­ing work relationships.

5. Offer Benefits People Actually Want

Four people are sitting at a table with graphs, papers, computers, tablets, pens and coffee cups on the table.


The one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always effec­tive, and high­ly sought-after employ­ees are active­ly seek­ing jobs that cater to their indi­vid­ual needs. That’s why tra­di­tion­al ben­e­fits pro­grams need sup­ple­men­tal pro­grams for employ­ee morale. If an orga­ni­za­tion wants to build a hap­py, moti­vat­ed, and enthu­si­as­tic team, it should offer cus­tomiz­able lifestyle benefits.

Every per­son with­in an orga­ni­za­tion is unique, and their ben­e­fits should be, too. Using Fringe’s lifestyle ben­e­fits plat­form, each team mem­ber can choose the ben­e­fits they want from over 100 dif­fer­ent ben­e­fit options, remov­ing all the guess­work for the employ­er and giv­ing the pow­er back to the employ­ees. Talk to our team to sched­ule a demo today!

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