It is a widely accepted truism that without motivation, it is not possible to achieve much, irrespective of where an individual operates. Motivation is what drives individuals to achieve great things because a motivated individual is committed to a task and is willing to go beyond the expected minimum and deliver the desired results. Consequently, many motivational strategies have been developed to help organizations motivate individuals in a bid to increase productivity and enhance the work engagement of employees.
However, motivation is a complex process that does not follow the linear relationship of rewards engenders desired behavioral outcomes while punishment leads to reduction of undesirable behaviors. Rewards and punishment can moderate behavior up to a certain level beyond which they paradoxically have a detrimental effect on the desired outcomes. Monetary rewards in the form of salary, benefits and perks are important in ensuring that an individual’s baseline needs are met hence releasing the creative energy towards resolving tasks rather than worrying on the unfairness and intolerable nature of the working conditions.
Extrinsic motivators, for example money, are important in motivation, although research shows that they can also lead to a reduction in productivity and creativity because they lead to tunnel focus, where individuals may be motivated for short periods, but lose interest in their work in the long term. When rewards are contingent, they make tasks to become chores, driving any joy from a task, turning it into ‘work’ that has to be done within the desired specifications. Intrinsic motivation is more important than extrinsic motivation because individuals that are intrinsically motivated can persevere in their tasks even when the conditions are hostile. Therefore, motivation strategies should be designed to ensure that they enhance intrinsic motivation, which is an accurate predictor of long-term success.