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What if your employees were so motivated you had to tell them to work less? Sound like a pipe dream? It doesn’t have to be. But bonuses, office perks, and stock options aren’t going to be enough to make it a reality. You need more than external motivators to create this kind of commitment.

People love to be connected to something grander than themselves, and the non profit space is a great example of what this can accomplish. It’s not uncommon to find someone so passionately committed to a cause that they think nothing of giving their time, energy, and talents to see it happen.

So, how can your for profit organization tap into that same intrinsically motivated mindset? These are the 4 key aspects to consider:

1) Purpose: It starts with a clearly communicated and well-integrated organizational vision. Remind your team of this frequently, but go further and help them see their individual place in it. Each member has a unique connection to a project or role, and sometimes hearing that makes all the difference.

2) Empower: Increase autonomy by identifying opportunities to encourage employee voice and choice. By giving them the chance to take risks and learn from failure, you encourage their stake in the larger organization.

3) Progress: People benefit from knowing they’re moving forward and meeting a goal. Start by defining what success looks like in a given situation, and then look for regular opportunities to recognize progress.

4) Connection: Make it personal. We’re not robots, but holistic beings that crave connection. Acknowledging that and encouraging a level of vulnerability and authenticity will encourage connections within the team and to the organization at large. Note - Don’t rely on team-building alone to do this. Identify opportunities to check-in with people, and be willing to acknowledge the personal challenges they may face. When done well, people feel seen and valued, and that may be all they need to push forward with their day.

A passionately committed and connected individual can change the world. By developing intrinsically motivated employees, you harness that same power to further your organization.


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