What motivates employees to do a good job?

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Employees that do a good job are valuable assets to any business. Staff who are motivated typically have strong morale and this benefits the entire organization. 

Motivated employees also typically work meticulously to ensure work is completed professionally and with high quality.

On the other hand, staff members who are not motivated are likely to be more careless, not do their work with pride and/or may influence the overall work environment and laden the atmosphere with negativity.

To understand what motivates employees to do a good job it is important managers spend the time to get to know employees individually. It is vital for a boss to not just lump staff members into a collective unit and assume they respond to the same motivators. The reason for this is because motivation for individual employees often means different things.

What motivates one employee may not inspire another to do a good job. This is why it is so important to gain strong insight into what makes individual employees want to succeed and be inspired in their jobs.

What are some of the common motivators that inspire staff members to do a good job:


There are two kinds of rewards managers can use to motivate employees, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. While each is a type of reward, the kinds of incentives offered vastly differ and it is important to correctly identity which employees will respond to each type. If not, the outcome may not be the ones desired that results in employee motivation.

Intrinsic Rewards

These rewards are achieved through task performance. While there is no tangible or measurable payment in intrinsic rewards, the motivation levels can soar with the right reward approach.

One of the key ideas in intrinsic rewards are to offer a feeling of accomplishment and achievement; many staff members often will respond very favorably to being given levels of autonomy and a sense of empowerment. This be accomplished in many ways, including but not limited to:

  • Offering employees more responsibility
  • Redesigning jobs to make them more interesting
  • Varying of work schedules, some employees respond well to flexibility
  • Any other kind of innovative way to make work more interesting
  • Cross-train employees to encourage them to learn new skills and break up the monotony of the day. 
When motivating employees to do a good job it is important to provide frequent feedback through positive reinforcement and not negative criticism. In addition, managers can offer growth on the promotion scale either through actual promotion or simply offering more responsibility. Many employees thrive at the chance to try something new or take charge of an area of the business.

Being given the opportunity to take on new challenges and gain both personal and professional growth is a great motivator for many people. Offering intrinsic rewards can effectively accomplish this and result in improved performance.

Extrinsic Rewards

Individuals who respond positively to extrinsic rewards may become better motivated when offered these kinds of incentives. This type of reward can come in the form of more tangible benefits such as:
  • Money in the form of a raise or periodical bonus
  • Extra vacation time
  • Opportunity to work flex-time
  • Telecommuting opportunities
  • Luncheons or gifts
People sometimes like to receive benefits that they can touch, see or use and many employees feel much more appreciated when given something tangible for their efforts. As a result, many managers find their employees are much more motivated when they learn they will be handsomely rewarded for their hard efforts in doing a good job.


Job security is another reason that may make people more motivated to do a new job. While it's true that fear of losing a job is a high motivator, knowing a job will be there tomorrow is another way to ensure a job is well done. 

People often are naturally gravitated towards the familiar and when individuals know with confidence their jobs will be there for them in the future, they'll tend to put more effort and more of themselves into the job and the details which need to get done in order to accomplish business objectives.


People who are disrespected in the workplace often suffer low morale. Low morale is inherently linked to low productivity which doesn't typically equate to a good job being done, better results are usually achieved through increased morale.

Giving staff members the respect they deserve is usually a good motivator. People like to be told they are appreciated and are usually willing to go the extra mile for those who are thankful for their hard work and offer praise, recognition and admiration. Respect and good treatment is a good motivator to get the job done.

Potential for Advancement

This goes along with both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards because of the prestige carried with promotions (intrinsic) and the money that comes with advancement (extrinsic). However it deserves a category of it's own because people are more likely to do a good job when they know opportunities for career advancement are a possibility.

Managers who want to get the job done understand the importance of providing incentives to motivate their employees. If low motivation is present it is worth the while to invest time in discovering where the problem lies and then provide a fix to boost morale and increase motivation.

Motivation is an important factor in employees doing a good job, but there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is probable a combination of techniques may need to be used in order to reach out to individual employees. 

One of the best ways to accomplish this objective is to take the time and make the effort to discover how different employees are motivated and then provide each person with the right incentives.


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