Wellness Coordinators – The 7 Drivers of Intrinsic Motivation (Be Sure You Tap Into These!)

Motivation comes in two types – extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation works best in the long haul when it comes to healthy behavior change. And you do want to learn how to best utilize this type of motivation, right?

Understanding motivation is a key responsibility of being a worksite wellness program coordinator. In order to facilitate and support employee healthy lifestyle changes, worksite wellness programs need to use both types of motivators. Much attention has been focused recently on the use of incentives or extrinsic motivators as tools to drive employee participation in a worksite wellness program. Less attention has been focused on the available existing internal employee motivators.

While research has shown that extrinsic incentives a great for driving program participation, there are no research findings that supports their use leading to long-term maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Employee engagement or commitment to healthy lifestyle behaviors is driven by the employee’s intrinsic motivators or internal drivers.

Research has identified seven key areas of intrinsic motivation. These key motivational drivers will vary by individual employee, making their use a very challenging proposition for a wellness program which operates at a group, rather than individual level.

The seven key drivers of intrinsic motivation are:


Achievement is having a sense of accomplishment – having attained success. It can also be having successfully completed a task, project or assignment.


Authority comes from having a sense of satisfaction from the influencing, persuading or leading others. Intrinsic authority is greater than position authority.


Affiliation as a motivator is about people and the social environment. Fellowship and groups are important in affiliation.


Independence is about freedom and taking on personal responsibility for the work needing to be done. With independence, there is a lesser need for affiliation. The locus of control is internal to the individual.


Esteem, as a motivator, is related to sincere praise, recognition and reward. It is about feeling good about yourself, sharing your experience and in a job well done. Celebrating success speaks directly to esteem.

Safety and Security

As a motivator, safety and security are about a steady and secure environment and a low tolerance for risk.


Fairness is about equality and getting treated fairly. Comparing oneself to others would also be prevalent and strong within this motivator.

To enhance the opportunities where intrinsic motivation can be best utilized, the challenge for the worksite wellness program coordinator is how to best incorporate these motivators into their program’s programming and interventions.

Adapted From:

Kelleher, Bob. 2014. Employee Engagement. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Source by William McPeck

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