Have You Ever Wondered How to Motivate Staff Members Who Don’t Want to Be Motivated?

Motivate Staff Members

On a scale of 1-10, how hard do you work to motivate your staff members?

Sometimes a 10?  Sometimes a 7?  Sometimes a 2?  Sometimes 15?

Have you come to the conclusion that sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s 150 – the employee just RESISTS all of your efforts?

Ugh! So frustrating, right?

I guess you know that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? 

Well, here you are.  Showing, giving, pushing, helping, practically begging the staff member to care more, work harder, and be a great team member.

Guess what.  YOU can only do so much …if the employee is not interested in being motivated.

OK, then let’s do “so much”.  Here are my five ideas for you.

  1.  It is absolutely essential that every staff member feel a connection with the children and the work they are doing to help children and families.  When s/he makes the connection, s/he will recognize the work as a profession instead of a job.


  1. You have to maintain a positive attitude at all times.  You never want to be the target of the employee / the reason the employee gives for not being motivated.  Don’t give up on being positive.  Keep positivity as one of your tools


  1. Many times employees cite confusion and “not knowing what is going on” or “what we’re supposed to do” as a reason for having low morale.


  1. I believe in facing a problem “head on”.  So, if I don’t feel I am getting the appropriate attitude and effort from a staff member, I ask him/her why.  Often, they deny it (as thought I am delusional) but that’s OK.  S/he now knows I notice and am concerned about the behavior.  You never want to let this behavior seen as being acceptable.


  1. Make sure every time you see a sign of connection or positivity in the staff member, you recognize this behavior with a compliment.  Thanks for…  I’m glad to see that you …  The children love when you…    These words are worth their weight in gold to your staff member!


Solving staff motivation problems are not a two minute fix.  Money won’t fix them.  Putting up with them certainly isn’t helpful.

But, a positive work attitude MUST be an expectation in every center.  It’s up to you to declare this, nurture this and ultimately dismiss anyone who can’t embrace this.