How to Motivate Your Nursery Team

Having a motivated and dedicated childcare team is a key component in running a successful nursery, as they are responsible for providing high standards of care for the children in the nursery setting by ensuring they can play, develop and learn.
So how can managers motivate their childcare team?  In this blog, we are going to look at 5 top tips that will ensure your team are motivated and working to their full potential.

1 - Communication

Communication is crucial in any workplace, and this is no different for a childcare setting!  There are different forms of communication, which means there are different ways to communicate and motivate your team.
  • Engaging with your team by actively listening to their suggestions or enquiries ensures that they know their perspective is being heard and taken seriously.  Providing opportunities to listen to your childcare team can range from scheduled one-on-one meetings, an open door policy or team huddles - it depends on which way works for you and your nursery setting.  But by providing these opportunities and showing you are available to listen to your team, will encourage your team to further engage with the nursery and its development, and motivate them to take pride and responsibility in their work.
  • Another way to actively listen and engage with your team is by getting to know them on a personal level.  Simple gestures such as a daily greeting, asking about their weekend or after their family, are ways to show how you recognise and value your team members. By getting to know your team on an individual level, the way they work and their goals, allows you to personalise any support to successfully motivate them.
  • Regularly communicating your own ideas and any relevant information can also motivate your nursery team.  This can just be a quick catch-up 5-10 minutes a day, regular team meetings or planned feedback sessions. These meetings can build strong working relationships between managers and their team, by making sure everyone is up-to-date with the nursery setting’s goals and other important information, such as any changes to legislation.

2 - Recognition

A good way to motivate and encourage your nursery team, is to recognise their achievements.  
  • By praising good work, giving positive feedback or recognising hard work shows team members that you appreciate and respect what they are doing and motivates them to continue doing so.  Simply by saying ‘thank you’ or other forms of verbal praise or feedback can make a positive impact on team morale and their motivation.
  • You can also introduce an incentive for good work in your nursery, so your team will be motivated to engage and achieve specific workplace goals.  These rewards do not need to be excessive - you can be creative! Rewards can range from a certificate, gift vouchers, extra holiday days or hours back, team meals or a team day out.

3 - Empowerment

As a manager’s role is to ensure that the nursery is running as efficiently and successfully as possible, you will often have tasks that take you away from the nursery floor.  This means that a lot of responsibility falls onto the nursery team. However, by empowering your team to make decisions about certain tasks will provide them with the motivation to engage with these opportunities.
  • There are different ways to empower your team members, including discussing your views for the nursery and how you want your team to work.  This means your team are motivated to go about their daily tasks without supervision and meet your targets. By gaining their engagement you are empowering your team to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Alternatively, you can relay your visions and goals for the nursery and ask your team’s opinion on how to achieve this.  This not only will provide you with an alternative perspective on how to complete tasks, but will also empower your team to engage further with the nursery.  

4 - Training

To ensure your team are motivated to work to the best of their ability, they should have relevant childcare training and specific training for your nursery setting.  
  • By making sure your team are all working the same way and towards the same goals, will motivate them to work together and help each other.  This can range from small goals (i.e. the way the arts and crafts units are organised) to large goals (i.e. what to do in a fire drill), but if every member of your team are trained to the same high standard they will be motivated to support and encourage each other.
  • As a manager you can also assist your team’s training and motivation by leading by example, which refers to you working and showcasing how you want your team to work.  You can lead by example and help your team when it is busy or on difficult tasks, never asking a team member to do something you are not prepared to do yourself or being the first person in and the last person out.  These are all fantastic ways to motivate your team and gain their respect. 

5 - Development

Another fantastic way to motivate your team is to help them develop within your nursery setting.  Providing the opportunity for further learning and development will not only increase the level of their care, but will also increase their enthusiasm for their role as a childcare provider. 
  • Actively listening and knowing your team on an individual level will allow you to recognise goals.  You can then apply this knowledge to assist team members in their development by encouraging them to achieve these goals and motivate them to become even more valuable members of your nursery team.  This could range from undertaking further courses or qualifications within their care sector, or carrying out passion projects within your nursery setting. But by supporting your team to learn and develop will show how they are valued.

And there we have it - 5 top tips to motivate your nursery team and increase their engagement as childcare practitioners.  Try applying these tips in your nursery and notice a difference in your team’s motivation.