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Motivation, the key to success

Kirjoittanut: Emil Makkula - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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Motivation, the key to success




What is external motivation in a work environment? Why does it help companies and corporations greatly to motivate their workers externally? Why does it benefit both parties involved? These are questions that this essay is going to answer.

Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the intensity of desire or need, incentive or reward value of the goal, and expectations of the individual and of his or her peers, Companies use this method to motivate workers to get better result.


So, what really is external work motivation and how can companies boost that external motivation? External motivation in the work environment and it is professionally called extrinsic motivation is the motivation person gets through external sources given by the company he is working for. (Ohio University, Internal vs. External Motivation). According to verywellmind article What is extrinsic motivation? by Kendra Cherry (17.5.2022) “Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards. These rewards can be tangible, such as money or grades, or intangible, such as praise or fame.” So, most of companies use extrinsic reward system to motivate people to with this method and people who are extrinsically motivated will continue to perform an action, even though the task might not be in and of itself rewarding for example, doing something at your job that you might not normally find enjoyable or rewarding in order to earn a wage. External motivation means that we do something not for the sake of inner fulfilment or because we want to, but to gain a reward or avoid a punishment. It may feel more like an obligation rather than an activity that will bring you enjoyment or fulfilment.


When trying to motivate people to work better, companies need to balance the amount they give out as while offering rewards can increase motivation in some cases, researchers have also found that this is not always the case. In fact, offering excessive rewards can actually lead to a decrease in motivation to do well. You think working less will not change the amount you are getting or that you will not get rewarded anymore, this leads to less motivation to do well and is a big problem for the company you are working for. Regardless, external motivators can still cause you to take action. After all, not everything you do can be highly enjoyable and fulfilling. However, if you need to accomplish something that you may not quite want to do, extrinsic rewards often can push you through that extra mile you need to get to the finish line. These are also the biggest reason why companies, corporations and organizations try to maximize their human resources strategy, that they can easily motivate people to work better and decrease the chance that they will lose motivation to work efficiently for that company, corporation, or organization. In the end external motivation methods benefit both parties so it is beneficial for everyone involved. (University of Rochester “Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, Phil Sennet, 29.6.2021)


External motivation is important for people because it can make working in more efficient ways because when the motivation has come from some external source for example big wage, promotion in your workplace or making your way to new better workplace. External motivation has also often seen taken place when people go to gym or do something other related to sport like running, bicycling, or swimming. The point is when running really fast for long time or working long hours at night it can be frustrating without external motivation. That’s why external motivation is one of the reason why people do physically hard work for example an oil rig welder in the north sea of Norway. That job is really hard to do because its hard work in hard conditions and you will stay away from home and family. Many athletes are motivated also by external factors like prizes, sponsorships, fans, fame etc. Same thing can also apply for artists for example musicians. When they get fame in many cases money and fans become their external motivation. External motivation itself helps people to cope in hard situations in life because knowing that the prize is waiting in the “finish line”. When individual is driven in external motivational mood and the achieved prize is something like just saying “thanks” or something else same type of act it can be such a big motivation killer compared to if individual gets paid for some reasonable amount of money or something else some what valuable. External motivation is basically the reason itself why people really go to do even the worst kind of jobs that they get offered. Without external motivation modern economy and by that the whole modern society probably would not work same way as we know it nowadays.


For companies, external motivation can be used for good when performance of the workers is wanted to increase and one of the easiest way to achieve that is to give workers some bonuses like extra money, company social event days like sports event or paid holiday days. With these motivational extras the overall motivation of the workers can be increased to much higher where it was originally even if the company requires employees to work even harder than before. For part time workers who want more working hours just an increase in the working hours can be a big motivator itself.


External motivation causes companies to pursuit for greater goals and external motivators are probably easiest way to get people to work in the companies. If you want to get some high-class experts to work in your company after those educational and experience standards comes the wage. With proper wage people like to come to work and will probably do the work better. Good examples of right kind of external motivation in Finland are courier services such as UPS and DHL. They pay good amount of money if a individual is willing to work hard and that’s how employees do the work right and fast service is guaranteed to the customer.



There are many different external motivators,


For example, the most commonly known salary raise. So, if you have salesperson, you give him target goals and when he completes them he gets bonuses, that way you can motivate the employee. Other ways are that maybe your family appreciates it more if you are well paid and on good job. Or maybe you just want to buy a house and you need to get a raise on your salary.


You need to give people reasons to work harder, the reason can be for an example bonus, salary raise, promotion, and a new work environment. It is quite normal to give workers bonuses when they meet their goals which the company has set them. That is great way to maximise the effort what employee’s gives to the firm.


Then of course you can motivate them by giving salary raise and there is two ways of doing that. You can give salary raise and hope that it motivates the employee to do his best, or you can say to them that if you manage to get to this goal you will get salary raise which is the x amount. In big companies there may be a new seat in a new city available and you want to give that place to best worker so they have competition for that seat which makes them work harder.


Basic promotion is good motivator in many cases so you give the information to works that there is promotion coming and the best employee can get the promotion.


External motivation can also be worker’s manager or colleges.


Managers can bring very much external motivation by doing little things that matters. These little things could be like always saying hi when seeing their workers first time in a day or so on. Manager can also have little chats with and / or small talk with their workers every now and then.


Workers can motivate each other by being nice and cheering others up. It is not too hard to do that. Also, when workers come together and become friends and group well, then they will motivate themselves. It doesn’t matter what work are we talking about, if there are two or more workers, there will be a group formed. They can talk about their job and complain about annoying things and things they don’t like. It might sound stupid, but this can be external motivator.


So, it is safe to say money is the biggest motivator since no one works for free unless they are volunteering or performing community service. However, money is not the only motivator if we do not only look at working in general but rather working for certain company or in certain position for a long time.


If there would be a situation where you are working for company X where you are working in a certain position and you have salary of let’s say 3 000 € / month. Your position is not that great, and you would like to have better salary and do some other work, but you are so happy of your colleges, and you have the best team and work environment you can imagine. When you think about your future, you wonder if you should quit and find a new job that would pay better. Then one day you find an interesting new job that you wonder could be the one true job for you. It pays better, 4 000 € / month, and have a new team there. Then you have four possibilities. One, stay in your current position and do nothing. Two, stay in your current position and ask for raise. Three, apply to that new job with better salary and hope to have a good team. And four, find again a new job. What would you do?


Many people, without context and personal connections, would most likely say option three is the best. However, there are many cases where people are left to their position (option one or two) for the rest of their lives. Most likely this is because they feel comfortable there and they feel like they are part of the company and the team there so that if they left, they would bring the team down, and many people don’t want to do that. Of course, this depends on for how long the person has worked for the company, like if they have worked for the company like 1 to 3 years, maybe they don’t have the same feeling as the person who has worked for the company 20 to 30 years.

In conclusion external motivation by gifts or rewards may be beneficial for growth of motivation for some people. A crucial factor is to keep these rewards in balance with individuals’ internal motivation. If given rewards have seen too much saturation individual will not be able to work as efficiently as he would be working the first time when receiving this reward. Best example for this is sales jobs that require you to do well in sales to earn a good income. If the salesperson will not reach wanted level of sales, the pay will be under the median wage. Sales jobs are usually best choice for competitive people that work well with external motivators. In many cases the reward systems used by companies are well calculated and these systems have been updated many times. Focusing on employees’ personal needs can help with giving rewards in smaller firms. External rewards are an effective way to motivate individuals, but a person needs to have different options to stay motivated. Many people can stay motivated without any external rewards, but these people will usually gain their competence from elsewhere, or in some cases are not motivated or competent at all.


Extrinsic motivation can also be gained by individuals wanting to avoid conflict or punishment. This is rarely the biggest motivator in the everyday life of an employee, because of workplace safety and health regulations. The biggest negative extrinsic motivator in modern society should be the competition that their colleagues offer and the standard that has been set for that specific line of work. Competition works well for some but does not have any effect on others. For this specific reason, external rewards will not be sufficient for making motivated to have a distinguished career. External rewards can be offered from various directions and some rewards are considered differently by different kinds of people. For an example giving a speech to large crowds can be considered as a honour or a nuisance depending on the person giving the speech.

External rewards can be used also to attract people to work for your company. This happens by giving these workers the best benefits on the market. These benefits include, but are not limited to organisation chart that has a lots of promotional steps, wage raises for a job well done, motivating colleagues and different kinds of bonuses and gifts. Employee that thinks well of the firm he or she works for, usually does better job than an employee that does not think like the previous employee. Happiness in workplaces has been lot more focused on current decade, since this has been proven to be effective way to gain results in growing the company’ revenue and profit. Even the ergonomics of companies are often studied and improved to give employees better place to work in. External motivators are greatly in focus when wanting people to reach harder steps. Good internal motivation in combination with external motivators will give more success in every scenario. Many more achievements will be gained if person is properly motivated.








Ohio University, Internal vs. external motivation, read 6.10.2022



verywellmind.com, What Is Extrinsic Motivation?, Kendra Cherry, published 17.5.2022



University of Rochester “Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, Phil Sennet, published 29.6.2021



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