Your greatest resource in your Nursery setting will always be your employees and they can truly form the difference between you running a good setting, and an outstanding setting.  So how can you achieve the best results from your employees?  Here we will look at 7 top tips to motivate employees in your nursery setting, to ensure your staff are working at the highest level to help your nursery become an outstanding setting.



It is crucial that your employees feel valued and recognised within your setting.  Regular communication can be key to achieving this.  A simple ‘Hello’ in the morning, an enquiry about their weekend on a Monday/Friday, conversation about employee’s interests outside of work can all be simple ways to motivate employees and make them feel more valued.

With regards to work communications, it is important to ensure that there is regular feedback regarding an employee’s performance. A well done for a task completed for example, as well as timely updates on any news affecting the nursery setting – e.g. a change in legislation or a change to the normal daily schedule.

This can be done in a structured way by having a weekly team meeting or monthly one on one meetings for example. If keeping it more unstructured feels more fitting for your setting then ensuring you have an ‘open door policy’ can work well. This ensures that your employees know you are available to talk through any issues when they may arise.

2. Lead by Example

At times on a busy day, when your daily task list is so large, it may seem that removing yourself from the bustle of the setting areas and sitting in a quieter office area is the best way to achieve the completion of your work for the day.  However, this can create a ‘Them and Us’ culture.  Instead, taking a portion of your day to spend working alongside your employees, can be an easy way of leading by example and to motivate employees.

If you can see that an employee is having an especially busy day, then by offering to pick up one of their tasks can help to relieve some pressure and ensure that they feel part of an inclusive environment.  Never asking an employee to do something you would not be prepared to do yourself, involving yourself in all aspects of work, and being first in/last out can all be ways in which you can lead by example and in doing so, gain respect and motivate employees.


Obviously as a Manager it is your duty to ensure that the nursery works in its optimum capacity.  However, this does not mean that you have to dictate the finer detail.  By discussing the role of an employee with them and gaining their thoughts/ideas on how they can best achieve the tasks that are required of them, can be a great way to motivate employees.  Take on board their suggestions and if they see a better way of completing a task, give them the flexibility to try this – if it works then implement it, acknowledge it, and reward it.


An incentive or reward for a job done well can be a big win and in turn motivate employees.  Remember this does not have to be a grand gesture.  It could be an extra day’s holiday, a small gift voucher complete with a thank you message explaining the value of their achievement, a team meal – be creative with your rewards!


Investing in your employee’s future can make them feel valued and can encourage loyalty.  Help your employees to develop a progression plan for their career, listen to their goals and work with them to help them achieve these goals.


A Nursery setting environment by its nature can be very different to an office environment.  For example, a quiet and tidy nursery (no toys out, no creative play), would not make for a happy environment for the children!  But ensuring that there is a tidy staff area with comfortable seating for breaks can be a nice but easy way to keep your employees happy.

Your employees could even help design the staff area – what they would like available there, for example what free drinks and snacks they would like available can be a nice touch to make them feel valued and involved.  Remember, the little details can often make a big impact.  Also create a positive working culture, encourage laughter and make your setting a ‘can do’ environment.


As you will see from the children who you care for within your setting, they all have unique personalities and needs.  This will be no different to your employees.  To successfully motivate employees as part of a team as well as individually, you will need to recognise and understand them as individuals, and see that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not achieve the best results.  Through getting to know your employees, you will see one by one what they react to positively and therefore how to motivate them in the most effective way.

As a manager, you will be aware that good staff can be hard to find.  Equally, good staff can be hard to keep.  However, by keeping your employees motivated from the moment they join your team, can go a long way to helping you achieve this.  Happy staff will be productive staff and they will be loyal staff.  If you can achieve this in your setting, then this will shine brightly to ensure that your nursery stands out and becomes the pinnacle which others aspire to.

Thank you for your time reading this blog, we hope you have found it useful.  If you have any different or unique ways in which you motivate employees in your nursery, The Nursery HR People would love to hear about it!  Equally we would be delighted to hear any other feedback you may have on this blog.

Did you know that we provide an award winning employment contract specifically written for nurseries and preschools, which is affordable and fully compliant with current UK Employment Law? To learn more about this outstanding product click here

Fiona Tyson

Operations Director

The Nursery HR People

01509 833121

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