How To Motivate Intrinsically Motivated People

Simple Ways to Boost Employee Motivation

This month at Kazoo, we have been exploring the topic of motivation, more specifically intrinsic motivation. When someone finds satisfaction from completing a project, they are being driven by intrinsic motivators. These tasks provide enjoyment, interest and energy.

Intrinsically motivated employees are pushed by challenge, autonomy and interesting projects. They are always looking for new opportunities to grow and learn and they feel passionate about what they do. They produce high-quality work and they often exceed expectations. This type of employee is extremely engaged and going to work genuinely makes them happy. This sounds like every manager’s dream employee, right?

Well, speaking realistically, sometimes life just happens to get in the way and even top talent can start to feel drowned. So what do they do to get recharged? We interviewed 4 highly motivated people to figure out what inspires them, what they do when they start feeling burned out and what managers can do to keep their employees motivated.

Here are the questions we asked:

  1. What do you do at work to help you stay motivated?
  2. What do you do outside of work that helps you stay motivated?
  3. What can you do as a manager to motivate your employees?


Here are our findings:

Tara- Manager, Customer Success

At work- “Something that has naturally developed that has helped me: My coworker and I joke that we always end up in a room together to talk things out. We work with every person in the company, which can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. It is nice to have a peer who brings out the positive, as well as having someone who you can talk about challenges and complaints with. In the end, we are all in this to problem solve.”

What can a manager do?- “In the startup world, it can be easy to not ask for help. You know that everyone is extremely busy. “Who has the time to help me here?” To combat that, one easy thing that managers can do is to make sure their expectations are clear. If they see that an employee is stressed out, help them prioritize. Also, communication plus frequent and open dialogue.”

Mike- VP of Engineering

At work- “I only want to work for a job that intrinsically motivates me. I usually get burned out when I am operating at a ridiculously low weed level. Prioritizing helps you get back up to that tree level (or at least bush level). You have to recognize that not everything is going to get done right away.”

Outside of work- “Travel helps me get away from the noise that causes you to feel burned out. It provides perspective on what is important, what is common in human nature, what is good, what is novel, what is the same. It allows you to think at a different level.”

Candace- Lead Graphic Designer

At work- “I try to pack a smile each day that I come in, listen to upbeat tunes when I am under a deadline, and try to engage in collaborative conversation often…people’s excitement around projects, especially in this office, is inspiring.”

Outside of work- “Working outside or in fresh air does it for me, as it breaks the concept of “work” or makes the churn knocking out lengthy tasks seem less daunting. I often try to change my perspective, whether it is a world view, concept of other’s work environments or through my personal objectives for the week. Also, brief walks, museum trips and downtown art installation visits give me an immediate charge.”

Meagan- General Manager

As a manager, how do you keep your employees motivated?- “Well, it is totally different for each employee. You have to get to know them and figure it out. Some are motivated by money, and others are motivated by recognition. When you really praise someone for doing something good, they want to do it again. Some people are self-motivated, and want to do the best they can. Those people can sometimes be micro-focused, so they don’t see other opportunities for success. You just have to help them think differently. Some people like to be rebellious, so they aren’t going to listen to you until you threaten them. I give them areas of responsibility and at first, it is an obligation, like you have to do a certain task every two days. But the more they do it they get attached to it, and they feel proud of what they have done and then they become protective of it.”

Need some ideas on how to engage the Millennials at your company? Check out our blog here.