The Four Pillars of the Employee Experience

Motivation research clearly shows that four pillars of the Employee Experience build an employee’s intrinsic motivation and give them positive reinforcement to engage with their job:

  • Connection:​ Feeling connected to my manager, colleagues, company, and community.
  • Meaning:​ Knowing my company, and the work I do, has meaning and purpose.
  • Impact:​ Knowing the work I do impacts my colleagues and my company for the better.
  • Appreciation:​ Feeling acknowledged and appreciated for my contributions.

Why these four pillars?

Behavioral science shows that employees perform best when they have positive “intrinsic” (internal) motivation — meaning that they get so much pleasure from doing their work that their work itself is a set of rewards. In other words – they do best when they like their jobs.

Intrinsic motivation isn’t just a nice-to-have; it has tangible results. Employees’ intrinsic motivation levels have a direct correlation to companies’ rankings on “Best Places to Work” lists. And, intrinsically motivated employees are more engaged – and therefore perform better.

However, building intrinsic motivation is tricky. Using “extrinsic” (or outside) motivation tools like bonuses, incentives, perks, or competitions is straightforward. While those extrinsic incentives can work for short-term performance boosts or to gamify mundane tasks, the London School of Economics has found that extrinsic motivation can ruin an employee’s intrinsic motivation if the perks are applied to work an employee enjoys doing anyway.

What does work? Connection to a team and management, feeling like your work matters, and giving and receiving appreciation — i.e., the four pillars. (See Rewards and Recognition Systems that Work for more on the science of motivation.)

We recently performed a market research study where we surveyed 750 employees in 600 companies to get their views on the employee experience. 93% of them found that having each of the four pillars — connection, meaning, impact and appreciation — in their jobs mattered to them.

To learn more about how to build these pillars into to your company’s Employee Experience, download our guide: The Employee Experience: Defined.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit