Intrinsic Motivation at Work

The Beginning

A few years ago I got an offer to lead talent development for a large business unit. It was the greatest experience of intrinsic motivation for me. I value humility, but I did some of the best work of my career in this role. This was not only because I rose above the tactical delivery areas for HR, but because as a business unit in it’s nascent stages – this role (largely thanks to my manager) gave me the freedom to make what I want of it!

We were provided the broad strategic areas within the talent space, our leaders wanted us to focus. But the ‘what’, the ‘how’ and even the definition of the ‘why’ came down to us – the strategic HR team. This feeling of being trusted by our leaders and the consequent responsibility acted as a wonderful energizer! Meeting with leaders, getting their thoughts – translating that into workable talent initiatives fulfilled my creative drive.

The Intrinsic Experience

I woke up every day looking forward to getting to work and addressing the next challenge! It could have been framing a concept note for the next initiative, creating the individual development plan formats for our high potential program, brainstorming on how to build people manager skills etc. Every day I wanted to do better not for any reward that was promised, but because I enjoyed what I did. I felt my work fulfilled me! I worked harder and felt better – I read more, focused on building my knowledge.

This gave me the strength to defend our new initiatives from critical feedback and middle management set in their ways, largely unflattering view of most – if not all – HR initiatives. Although a lot of this was also because my manager always had my back!

The trust and responsibility entrusted to me drove me more than any promise of a pay hike or a promotion. I believe that the quality of work, the entrusting of responsibility and the unflinching support of my manager intrinsically motivated me and brought out the best and can do the same for most others!

By Vidya Girish

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