Leverage Science to Boost Productivity

Christopher Carson
February 29th, 2024
7 min read

In today's fast-paced business world, organizations are constantly seeking ways to enhance employee motivation and drive higher performance. Understanding the role of the brain's reward system, specifically dopamine, and how intrinsic and extrinsic rewards can influence it, can be a game-changer for boosting workplace productivity and engagement.

The Role of Dopamine in the Brain

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in motivation, reward, and pleasure. It's a chemical messenger that the brain releases when we experience something enjoyable or achieve a goal. This feel-good neurotransmitter is central to understanding how motivation and reward systems work in the human brain.

Intrinsic Rewards: Fostering Internal Motivation

Intrinsic rewards come from within an individual and are often associated with personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Examples of intrinsic rewards in the workplace include achieving a significant milestone, mastering a challenging task, or a feeling of respect from supervisors and/or other employees. Research indicates that intrinsic rewards can trigger dopamine release in the brain, promoting motivation and a sense of purpose among employees.

Extrinsic Rewards: External Incentives for Performance

Extrinsic rewards are external incentives such as bonuses, recognition, promotions, and other tangible benefits. These rewards are often used by organizations to motivate employees. Extrinsic rewards also stimulate the release of dopamine, creating a positive association between achievements and external recognition.

Tenure Blueprint for Dopamine-Infused Success

Tenure strives to seamlessly merge the inherent intrinsic with the outward extrinsic rewards to create an unparalleled dopamine catalyst for employers. Research published in the European Journal of Business and Management has demonstrated a positive correlation between enhanced employee performance and the fulfillment of true intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.1 This study, and a supporting study by Neuron2, a leading publication in the neuroscience community, suggests that dopamine not only reinforces learning but also encourages the pursuit of further rewards, thus motivating behaviors that lead to similar rewarding outcomes.

Tenure's reward and recognition model aims to optimize increased dopamine release through two key strategies: providing employers with insights into each of their employees' personal motivations and offering a platform for regular, tailored recognition and rewards based on each individual's unique preferences.

With our platform it empowers employers and managers to delve into their employees' personal passions, goals, and aspirations, thereby tapping into their sense of purpose. We understand that as humans, we each harbour dreams and aspirations that extend beyond the confines of the workplace. These endeavours are not obligatory or coerced; they are pursued solely because the individual derives immense pleasure from them. Employers can now leverage employees' personal dreams and aspirations to align with company objectives, motivating staff to reach their career goals while simultaneously fulfilling their personal ambitions.

Benefits of Dopamine in the Workplace3

  1. Enhanced Productivity: When dopamine is released in response to a job well done, employees are more likely to repeat productive behaviours. This reinforcement mechanism can boost productivity and drive consistent performance.
  2. Sparking Innovation: Dopamine has been linked to creativity and problem-solving. A motivated and engaged workforce, driven by dopamine, is more likely to generate innovative solutions and novel ideas.
  3. Increased Employee Engagement: Higher dopamine levels are associated with feelings of enjoyment and fulfillment. This, in turn, leads to increased employee engagement, as employees are more committed and satisfied with their work.

Consider your employee's aspirations to build stronger connection 

Consider an employee who is saving for guitar lessons, planning to purchase an engagement ring, or setting aside funds for a humanitarian mission to build houses in South America. Instead of offering them conventional points for merchandise or generic gift cards, we encourage rewarding them based on what truly fuels their personal aspirations. These distinctive and intimate dreams contribute to a profound sense of fulfillment in an individual's life, thereby igniting their enthusiasm for the workplace.

Simultaneously, as you gain insight into your employees' individual and distinctive aspirations, our platform facilitates the process of recognition and rewards that fuel their extrinsic motivation. Managers can send messages to employees, expressing appreciation for their outstanding project contributions and offering financial support towards their personal objectives. This approach not only affirms the employee's value but also allows the manager and the company to naturally and genuinely recognize them for their contributions, disseminating this acknowledgment within the organization.

By skillfully blending intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, Tenure's platform offers a holistic approach to employee engagement, fostering a work environment where personal aspirations are celebrated, and individuals are continually motivated to excel.

Article References:

  1. Chijioke, N., Egbunike, F., & Chinedu. (2015). Effect of Rewards on Employee Performance in Organizations: A Study of Selected Commercial Banks in Awka Metropolis. European Journal of Business and Management   , 7(4). Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=18719491441bd4dce833afe3e89b562d94c09923 
  2. Bromberg-Martin, E. S., Matsumoto, M., & Hikosaka, O. (2010). Dopamine in motivational control: Rewarding, aversive, and alerting. Neuron, 68(5), 815–834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2010.11.022 
  3. Boules, D. (2023, September 23). Leveraging the Power of Dopamine for Enhanced Employee Engagement and Workplace Safety. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from www.linkedin.com website: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leveraging-power-dopamine-enhanced-employee/ 
Christopher Carson
COO, Tenure