Motivators: Extrinsic and Intrinsic Rewards

With large numbers of employees becoming eligible to retire, and very real talent shortages in many workplaces, organizations are rightly looking at ways to motivate and retain the talent that they have. The study of employee motivation goes all the way back to the 1930s, but the issue has acquired a fresh urgency now that we are in a seller’s job market (fewer job seekers than job openings).

So the spotlight shines once more on how best to acknowledge superior employee contributions, and the terms “extrinsic rewards” and “intrinsic rewards” make their appearance. Which is the best way to acknowledge our best performers and motivate them to keep it up?

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Dr. Tim Rutledge is the author of Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty. He is a writer, consultant, trainer and speaker in the field of Human Resource Development. He may be reached at
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