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Building Motivation and Engagement


Motivation is something that is always fluctuating.  Some days we may be inspired and working incredibly efficiently.  Other days, we may be struggling to find the creativity or the energy to put forward our best work.  There just isn’t any gas in the tank. This is normal and to be expected.  However, there are some ways that we can create a bigger tank, allowing us to have more places to draw motivation from.  Let’s start exploring how we can build our motivation and become more engaged! 


As just previously mentioned, motivation can greatly fluctuate.  It can come and go in waves.  However, when we are committed to something, it means that we can perform even without motivation.  For example, we may not be motivated to work on a project, but because we are committed to our job, we complete the task at hand anyway.  It may take longer and not be the best work we have ever put forward, but we got it done because we were committed to completing the project.  Commitment can be helpful for those days when we aren’t feeling inspired, but if we rely on commitment too frequently and do not find our motivation, we can become burnt out and lose our quality of work.  Because of this, it is important that we find ways to build our motivation long-term.  


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There are two main types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Both are strong sources of motivation and can be useful in getting our work done, but intrinsic motivation can be a steadier source. Realistically, both motivators are going to be present in most scenarios, so it is important that we understand what they are and how we can use them to drive our performance.  Once we understand what gets us excited, we can tie these into our individual development plan. 


  • Extrinsic motivators are sources of motivation that are outside of ourselves.  They are external and can be out of our control.  
    • Examples: getting a raise, public recognition, avoiding reprimand, etc.  
  • Extrinsic motivators, because they are not always in our control, can be infrequent, so it important that we do not rely on their presence to drive our performance.  The absence of praise after a job well done can become demotivating if that is why we were motivated to complete the task.   
  • If you are someone who is motivated by rewards, you can start making this aspect more controllable by creating rewards for yourself.  For example, if you complete a project, you can reward yourself with a gift to yourself, like a fun coffee drink, a splurge on tickets to a big game, or even just telling yourself great job. This will not have the same impact compared to if the reward was coming from an external source, but it can start to move us towards that steadier intrinsic motivation.   


  • Intrinsic motivators are sources of motivation that come from within ourselves.  They are internal and are typically more in our control. 
    • Examples: satisfaction from completing a project, enjoying creative tasks, appreciating a challenge, genuine passion for the task, etc. 
  • Intrinsic motivators are what we are aiming to build.  When we can find genuine enjoyment from our work, we are going to come to work each day motivated and engaged.  Finding pieces of our work that leave us feeling satisfied is essential in building intrinsic motivation.
  • When we know what we like about our role, we can work with our Manager to see how we can leverage those aspects to get the most out of our work experience.  There are always going to be certain tasks that we like less than others, but if we can better leverage the aspects that we enjoy, then we can create a better balance in our role.   


Psychologists Ryan and Deci defined Self Determination Theory as a way to explain motivation through three basic psychological needs: Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness.  If we can develop these three areas, then an individual is going to feel more secure, engaged, and motivated to perform at their best.  The three areas are all inter-related, so when we start to develop one of the areas, we are typically developing the other facets as well.  People naturally want to improve and grow, so if we can identify the what and how, then we can start to focus some energy in building our autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  Want to watch a video instead of reading?  Check out our Lunch and Learn on Building Motivation 


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  • As an employee, it is important that you feel in control of your situation.  Having a say in your goals, feeling like your actions directly impact your results, believing that you are heard, all play a part in how autonomous someone may feel.   
  • To build your autonomy, you can try opening up development conversations with your Manager.  Sharing your goals and expectations for yourself and your career can help you to feel like you are in control of your future with your organization.  Additionally, when your Manager understands what you are hoping to achieve, they can help to support and guide you, showing evidence of their confidence in your ability to meet your goals.  

There are several avenues in Truvelop you can use to build your autonomy: 

  • Request a Spark/Evaluation: by requesting additional feedback during an employee assessment, you are taking a proactive approach to your development rather than waiting for your Manager to share their thoughts. 
  • Using Spark to Set Goals:  With Spark, you can set and revisit your goals.  With Contextual Reporting, you can search for specific Sparks and leave updates, holding yourself accountable and giving yourself the ability to make adjustments in the moment.  
  • Continue to explore the Knowledge Center as you grow in your professional development.  Truvelop has so many resources available to you, so if you want to learn more about performance development, you can do so at your own pace.  


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  • Everyone wants to feel like they are good at what they are doing.  Building upon our current strengths and leveraging our talents can help us to feel like we are performing at a high level.  Additionally, we want to feel like we are improving.  Understanding our growth areas and how we can develop them is animportant part of building our sense of competence.  
  • To build your competence, meet with your Manager to have a conversation about your strengths and growth areas.  Work together to determine how you can better leverage your strengths and maybe even expand your role in your top performance areas.  With your growth areas, determine how to best approach your development.  If that is additional training or more exposure in safe learning scenarios (such as shadowing or taking on a smaller role in a team project), then see if you could be considered for those opportunities.  
  • In Truvelop, you can measure your competence development with Evaluations.  Meet with your Manager to determine what your main areas of focus should be and use Spark to document your plan for success and then follow-up with updates on your development.  The physical proof of your growth can again help you to feel competent and confident in your performance.  



Screen Shot 2021-07-01 at 9.16.07 AM“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough” – Walt Whitman        

  • When we are surrounded by a supportive team, we can feel more enjoyment from our work.  Building strong relationships with those that you work with can make the day’s work feel more meaningful and fun.  The other aspect of relatedness that needs to be present is a sense that your work is impactful and is valued.  Feeling connected to your organization’s mission can help you to feel more motivated and engaged.  
  • When building relatedness, it comes down to our sense of connection and being valued.  Whether it is with your Manager, your team, or your organization, we all want to feel seen and heard.Relatedness with your Manager: set up regular check-ins with your Manager to ensure that you are always on the same page.  Getting regular feedback (whether in person, in a Spark, or an Evaluation), helps us to feel supported and that our work is being noticed.   
    • Relatedness with your Team: if you work with a team, it is important everyone understands their role and the expectations of each role.  When we are all on the same page and working towards the same goal, we can appropriately support each other.  Effective communication can help to ensure that everyone and their contributions are valued.  
    • Relatedness with your Organization:  whether you work for a small, close-knit organization, or a large corporation that has multiple sites, it is important that we feel connected to the organization.  Understanding the organization’s mission and what they are setting out to achieve can help us to feel part of a bigger purpose.  Identifying how your role contributes to the larger picture can help to keep you motivated and engaged. 
  • Truvelop’s main goal for organizations is to increase touchpoints between Managers and Employees.  Increased touchpoints help to create stronger relationships and a better understanding of each individual employee and their needs, allowing Team Members to feel more supported and fostering a stronger sense of relatedness.  Whether it is stronger direction from an Evaluation, a Spark follow-up from your Manager, or getting a shoutout on the Recognition Wall, Truvelop is helping to keep you connected to your team and organization.  

When you improve one of these areas, you improve all of the areas.  When you feel more connected to your team, you are likely going to feel more supported, which can help you to feel more competent.  When you are feeling more competent, you may be more willing to take initiative, helping you to feel more autonomous.  If you feel like you are in control of your environment, you may be more willing to collaborate with your Manager, increasing your sense of relatedness.  It is all inter-related, so when you put in the effort to increase one domain, you are actually able to increase all of them.  Building motivation and engagement doesn’t have to be difficult!  


As we build our motivation and engagement, it is important that we know how to face obstacles and challenges.  If we face a challenge with the fear of failure, then we could actually lose motivation.  Instead, if we go into a challenge with the understanding that this is a chance to learn and grow, then we could be inspired and motivated to face the obstacle head-on.  Do you have a growth mindset?   


Fixed Mindset

If someone has a fixed mindset, they believe that their talent and intelligence is stagnant.  They typically avoid challenges due to the fear of failure.  They also may view temporary setbacks as permanent failures.  They may also feel like any constructive feedback is criticism, and become demotivated.   

Growth Mindset

If someone has a growth mindset, they believe that talent and intelligence can be improved.  They typically see challenges as a learning opportunity and embrace the idea of being uncomfortable in order to grow.  They view temporary setbacks as temporary and are willing to make adjustments in order to continue on the journey towards meeting their goals. They take constructive feedback with an open mind and implement it in their work.   

Looking for additional guidance for developing a growth mindset? Check out our Growth Mindset Reflection Guide.  


Even once you build your autonomy, competence, and relatedness and face your challenges with a growth mindset, there are still going to be days where you don’t feel as motivated or as engaged as you may hope.  On these days especially, it is important that you take the time outside of work to recover, rest, and recharge.   


  • What are you currently doing to recharge after work? 
  • Do you feel like you have a strong distinction between work and home? 
  • If you weren’t currently working, what would you like to be doing instead? 
  • When are you at your most relaxed? 
  • How do you cope with your stress? 
Updated on October 25, 2023

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