Incentives vs Gamification

Motivating and incentivizing employees is something that businesses have always worked to achieve. Incentive solutions can be a brilliant way to elevate team members and see employees work harder to reach goals, knowing they’ll be rewarded. Gamification is a very popular way to incentivize and motivate employees, bringing out their competitive side and intrinsic motivation to prove themselves. Using both gamification and incentives can boost the productivity of sales teams and other employees to great effect, demonstrating that you’re a company that values their employees and recognizes when they should be rewarded. 

What is an incentive?

An incentive is anything that motivates or encourages someone to do something. Many people have incentives within both their personal and professional lives and incentives can bring about great change in people when approached in the right way. Businesses often use incentives to motivate their employees, and in a world where employee engagement is key to reducing turnover and strengthening employee satisfaction, incentives often play a large role in a wider business strategy. Incentives can be categorized into two separate categories; intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic incentives are anything caused by external stimuli, such as a physical trophy, a bonus, a pay rise, or praise from loved ones. Intrinsic incentives (you guessed it) come from within, they are more psychological, such as an inner desire to prove yourself and win. 

Explore BeeLiked’s incentive programs for employees and discover how it can help boost your business.

What is gamification?

Gamification utilizes the idea of an incentive to create gamified, interactive solutions for employees and customers alike. Gamification allows companies to create gamified experiences to challenge, excite and motivate internally and externally. Customer-centric gamification can increase brand awareness and customer loyalty, and internally gamification can be used to great effect to increase employee engagement through rewards recognition.

Incentives vs gamification 

So, which is better, incentives or gamification? Does one triumph over the other with employees? Should businesses use incentives, or gamification to increase productivity?

The true answer to this question is that both are beneficial in their own way. Gamification is a type of incentive; depending on the outcome, can lead to real prizes, and gives employees an internal focus and drive to succeed. Whether that is to compete with peers or reach new heights on a personal level, gamification has proven to boost productivity, and employee morale and garner real results. 

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation 

What is intrinsic motivation and how can businesses benefit from it?

The great thing about intrinsic motivation is that those who are intrinsically motivated will be passionate about their work. There is nothing more powerful than internal drive; if somebody is happy to complete a task with no external reward, then it demonstrates how engaged and focused they are without external drivers. Intrinsically motivated people are not looking for external rewards when completing a task; the task itself is the reward. They’ve challenged themselves, set internal goals, and gain a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from their own merit. It is how businesses utilize intrinsic motivation that is key; that’s why offering career progression, autonomy, and opportunity are all vital for a successful workplace. You will have provided natural incentives through your wider business strategy, and cultivating a culture that promotes self-driven success can see those who are self-motivated go a very long way. 

So, what about the other tasks? The more mundane, challenging tasks that sometimes need a little external motivation to get employees enthused again?

This is when extrinsic motivation can be used effectively to motivate employees to get involved, for a chance to win something, with companies demonstrating that occasionally, work should garner something more than intrinsic satisfaction. 

What is extrinsic motivation and how can businesses benefit from it?

Extrinsic motivation is when external rewards motivate people to carry out tasks. The reward, whether that be physical such as a trophy or a monetary bonus, or even external praise and recognition, is the driving force behind a person’s actions, as opposed to any internal satisfaction. An athlete may be motivated by winning a gold medal, a student may be motivated by a higher grade; employees can be motivated by monetary rewards, or a promotion or pay rise. Extrinsic motivators require some sense of physical achievement as well as internal achievement. 

Here are some of the benefits of extrinsic motivators, such as gamification, in the workplace:

It is a source of feedback

Gamification can let people know that their performance thus far has achieved a standard that is deserving of reinforcement, recognition, and further challenge. 

It inspires interest

Gamification and extrinsic rewards induce interest and participation in an activity that an individual was not previously engaged in. This can be a great motivator in particular for sales teams, who may need an external driving force to push them to make a sale, smash targets and meet their goals.

It can garner new skills

External motivators are first and foremost a way to engage employees. You may find that once the early skills have been learned, employees will then become internally motivated to pursue an activity, acquire new skills, and expand their knowledge. 

Examples of incentives in the workplace 

Incentive programs for employees

Incentive programs for employees are a fantastic way to motivate team members with real incentives. Incentive solutions are used by businesses with great success to encourage healthy competition, and in particular, can be incredibly successful amongst sales teams. From motivating your entire employee network to smash targets to creating personalized incentive programs for sales teams, incentives for the workplace are never a bad idea.

Recognition incentives

Recognition incentives are another simple way to easily reward employees and give them a boost. Thanking and praising employees for their hard work demonstrates you value their hard work, meaning employees are more inclined to keep up the good work after being recognized. Employee recognition doesn’t have to be verbal praise; a team day out can boost morale, let employees let off steam, and demonstrate that as a company, you recognize the importance of company culture and demonstrate that through action.

Appreciation initiatives 

Company parties, celebrations, and paid group lunches are other simple ways you can incentivize employees. By acknowledging the importance of company culture, companies are demonstrating they have one foot in the 21st Century and are on board with the need to make work more than just, well, work. 


Gamification is another form of incentive that can drive our intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; pushing our desire to win, or setting ourselves personal challenges and goals to overcome.

Learn more about BeeLiked’s incentive solutions with our incentive programs for employees, specifically tailored to your business. Get in touch with a member of our team for more information. 

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