Extrinsic factors like salary and benefits don’t necessarily lead to employee motivation or boost firm performance. What does?

Intrinsic elements.

That’s what Dan Ariely shared on a recent episode of the Prof G podcast with Scott Galloway.

The Green Goldfish concept, which emphasizes the importance of going beyond monetary incentives, also reinforces this idea.

The color green is a metaphor that signifies the importance of recognizing and engaging employees through non-monetary means. Lagniappe, a Creole word that means “a little something extra,” is a key aspect of this concept of going above and beyond the transaction to honor the relationship.

Ariely highlights three elements of intrinsic motivation: feeling appreciated, psychological safety, and alignment with the company. These elements align with some of the 15 types of Green Goldfish, such as recognition, transparency, and purpose/pay it forward.

Investing in intrinsic rewards can help create a work culture that values and respects employees. It’s not always about the money honey!