Motivation in the Workplace Part One
Motivation in the Workplace Part One
We dedicate this week’s blog to the owners, directors, managers, supervisors and team leads who motivate others. Some people in our profession make you ask you wonder, “Why on earth do you do this job?”
You know who those people are. They are the ones disengaged from the children, or disengaged from their room partner, or seem to go out of their way to demonstrate they would rather be anywhere but at work. Some people might suggest that you ask them to quit, or you terminate their position. What if there were extenuating circumstances that prevented you from “getting rid” of them?
What if they are long term staff that the board of directors LOVES? Perhaps they are the owner’s cousin/daughter/friend. Or maybe you own the program and know that families will leave in droves if that staff no longer works for you. For the sake of this article, let’s assume that your hands are tied, and relieving an unmotivated staff of their duties is not an option.
The majority of us in this sector are passionate about what we do. Your problem staff may have been passionate at some point. So then the question is, how do we re-ignite their passion?
1. Understand your team’s point of view
If you haven’t surveyed your staff in the past 12 months, it’s time to create a survey. Make your survey anonymous and ask honest questions. Be prepared to hear some things you may not want to hear!
- What is your biggest worry about work?
- Do you have a sense of meaning and purpose with the work that you do?
- Do you have any issues you want to see addressed?
- Are you challenged, and what opportunities would you like to see for your role?
- What do you like best about your work?
- Is there anything you wish to learn more about?
- Who do you look up to in the Early Learning Profession? Why?
- What are we doing well in the program?
- Where can we improve to make the program better for the team?
If it’s within your budget, you can hire a consulting team like Creative Child Care Consulting to come in and do a confidential group interview with your staff. Often people will be more honest and candid with strangers than they are with their supervisors.
2. What motivators do you use?
Many are surprised to find out that money is not the primary motivator when it comes to work. Studies have shown that money is NOT the number one motivator. It falls about sixth or seventh on the list of motivators.
The biggest motivator for employees is a positive work environment, and the second most significant factor is having a voice regarding day to day operations. The third motivator is employee recognition.
- Is your work environment a positive one, or does gossip, speculation, or bullying dominate?
- Do you regularly consult with your team on matters that impact their delivery of services?
- How do you recognize individual employees? Do you do so regularly, and do you make the recognition meaningful?
3. Build up happy by offering meaningful benefits
No one gets into child care to become wealthy. However, there are many things you can do that make work more attractive.
- Flexible hours
- Paid coffee break
- Social committee activities (Fitbit challenges, weekend activities)
- Extended lunch break once a month
- Partially paid health benefits
- Weekly lunchtime yoga session
- Matching RRSP contributions
- Volunteerism day off
- Monthly team breakfast or lunch
Poll your employees and find out what they would appreciate. Figure out which of their suggestions fit within your current budget and offer them however you can.
4. Is everyone working towards goals?
Setting SMART goals and being held accountable to those goals is an excellent way to motivate your team.
Specific- Exactly what do you want to achieve?
Measurable- How will you know when you’ve met the goal?
Attainable-Is it realistic?
Relevant-Will this enhance your job performance?
Timely-Can this be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time?
5. Where is the fun?
Take a long look at your program. Are the staff having as much fun as the children? Do team members seem to enjoy each other? Is the mood in the staff room uplifting? We have critical work to do, but it is essential that we have some fun doing it.
What ways can you incorporate fun at work?
- Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones
- Bring lunch in for the team once a month, or hold a potluck
- Play a game throughout the day
- Do the staff have an area where they can practice yoga, pray or meditate?
- Encourage staff to pin their favourite joke or cartoon in the staff room
- Organize a social committee that plans fun staff activities outside of work
The more fun you can bring to the program, the more comfortable your everyone feel communicating and collaborating. They’ll start to see each other as ordinary people rather than people who work together.
Employee motivation matters
Motivated staff make work a much better place to be. They feel heard and appreciated and are more likely to take the initiative while bringing new ideas into the workplace. When the team feels valued, they are more likely to respect everyone around them.
As a supervisor, it is your job to motivate the people who answer you. To expect everyone to show up motivated and ready to work is not enough. Motivation and enthusiasm begins with you! Build trusting and respectful relationships with your team and implement the ideas above. Remember, things will not change overnight. It will be a long, slow road to improve team motivation. Be consistent and don’t give up! The benefits to the program will be huge.