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The four factors of motivation and simple ways you can motivate your staff

In a recent webinar, we welcomed Jane Ann Benson, early childhood coach and founder of Early Childhood Ally. Jane Ann spoke to us about the importance of consistent appreciation and acknowledgment of the meaningful and challenging work our educators do each day. Ensuring educators feel recognized will increase their positivity at work and support staff retention. Jane Ann shared actionable strategies on how we can help our staff find their inner motivation again and decrease burnout and turnover.

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar that inspired this blog post! 


Motivation is the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. All adults need to be motivated in some way for every single thing they do each day. Therefore, in the workplace, motivation is very important. Employees need to be motivated to show up as their best selves each day and work hard at their job. 

Four factors of motivation: 

  1. Leadership style. Management style deeply impacts motivation. Think about bosses that empowered you. You were likely motivated to work harder for them than for managers that you did not align with. If you are a manager,  are you getting feedback on your leadership style and if it is working for your team? How are you empowering your staff? Employees want to be better for a strong manager and support the team as a whole. 
  2. The reward system. As a manager, ensure you have a clear evaluation system in place that motivates employees. They need to know their job description, what is required of them each day, when they will be reviewed etc. 
  3. The organizational climate. Otherwise known as workplace culture. It is so important to cultivate a team that supports one another, trusts each other, and leaves employees feeling committed. 
  4. The structure of work. Is the work rewarding? Why are we doing what we are doing? Are you able to be flexible? Autonomous?  

Recognition also plays a large role in motivation. 67% of employed Americans would put energy into their work if they were recognized more often. Appreciation is recognition of the good qualities of someone or something. Different things motivate different people. Think about love languages and what motivates who. Treating each staff member differently, playing to their strengths, and supporting them in the way that works best for them will go a long way. 

Providing positive, genuine feedback is a low to no-cost idea to support your staff and can be very meaningful. You do not want to feel like you are just a recognition box checked off a list, you want to feel recognition is genuine. Examples of these are sticky notes on people’s desks, shout-outs at staff meetings, etc. 

63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job.”

Things you can do to motivate yourself and your team:  

  • Rest. We need to prioritize getting enough sleep and relaxation to be our best selves for our team. 
  • Have fun! Taking time to be playful is essential. When we have fun both in our workday and during our time off, we recharge. 
  • Create. When we flex our creativity and try something new we are able to use other parts of our brain. 
  • Speak up. Share your thoughts with others. When we are able to voice our worries, frustrations, and hopes it often frees up space in our brains to rest and think. 
  • Reflect on your why! Why are you doing what you are doing? Is this just a tough season? Is it time to move on? Questioning helps us to sort through the noise that can be disruptive to staying motivated. 
  • Gratitude. Having a positive mindset has plenty of research to back it up. Try ending your day with a list of three things that you are grateful for and pass them on to your team! 
  • Plan. Having a clear plan and goals give us a guidepost and can keep a team motivated. It can start with one goal for the day or week. Building on successes is a quick tip. 
  • Dream. Spend time dreaming about the life you want. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Journaling can be a strategy. Even if after it you rip it up and throw it away. Recording your dreams on your phone and playing it back and listening to it is found to be helpful in keeping us motivated. 
  • Reward yourself. Make sure to celebrate often. This is critical in the journey of life. This can be a special treat, a new outfit, dinner with friends, a trip to your favorite museum, or getting a massage. Just make sure to pause and reward yourself along the way! 

Motivated teams are strong, hard-working teams. Take the time to appreciate, recognize and reward each of your team members to ensure they stay motivated. Do not forget to also take time for yourself! 

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar that inspired this blog post! 

Want to learn more about important topics in early education such as hiring and retaining educators? Sign up for the next webinar below, it is FREE! Even if you can’t join live, you will be emailed the recording and slides just for registering!

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