60 Motivational Quotes for Employees: Achieving Goals, Hard Work & Leadership

60 Motivational Quotes for Employees: Achieving Goals, Hard Work & Leadership
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Motivation is the determination plus, the enthusiasm to do something. But it does not come naturally all the time and may even be hard to come by (St-Aubin, 2018). In the corporate world where meetings are regularly held to discuss plans and solve problems, motivation is a significant component. However, even the most motivated employee can get too exhausted, anxious, or demotivated to contribute something to a meeting. This situation may be due to some personal or work-related reasons.

An alarming statistic on employee engagement during meetings reveals that 49% of employees find themselves doing something unrelated to a meeting. Beyond meetings, demotivated employees cannot maximize their potential. Eventually, these emotions can lead to poor work performance and disadvantageous results for the company (Reddy, n.d.).

There are plenty of motivators employers can rely on, such as facilitating icebreakers or announcing new employee perks, to engage employees during meetings (Garvey, 2019). Yet, sometimes, all it takes is a few words of encouragement to capture their attention (Son, 2017). Set the tone for an engaging meeting or begin speeches the right way with this article’s list of motivational quotes for employees, divided into different work values.

Motivational Quotes for Employees Table of Contents

  1. Quotes for Achieving Goals
  2. Quotes for Hard Work
  3. Quotes for Positive Attitude
  4. Quotes for Responsibility 
  5. Quotes for Teamwork
  6. Quotes for the Tough Times

Keeping Remote Employees Motivated

Motivation is a continuous process. A motivated employee showing up at work today might seem dull tomorrow (Medhi, 2021). In today’s remote work era, most employees have no choice but to adapt to this kind of arrangement to keep their jobs. Remote work is not for everyone and even if they seem to be adapting well, it is important to think of their mental wellness first so that their work will not get compromised (Namely, 2020).

When a supervisor comments examples of a job well done, employees tend to be motivated. To establish and maintain employee motivation in work-from-home setups, work on:

  • Effective communication through regular calls or teleconference tools
  • Transparency by informing employees how the company is really doing during this pandemic, its challenges, and resolutions
  • Morale booster strategies such as playing virtual games
  • Prioritizing safety when they need to personally come to the office such as implementing health protocols and cleaning and disinfecting the workplace

The US Experience on the Shift to Remote Work

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Slack, 2020

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Quotes for Achieving Goals

Goals guide and lead employees toward their efforts, motivate their work performance and help them get aligned with the company mission and vision. Achieving goals makes employees see how remarkable their contributions are to the company. (Ryba, 2020).

  1. The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible. —Charles Kingsleigh, “Alice in Wonderland (2010)”
  2. Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. —Lou Holtz
  3. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. —Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. If you hit the target every time, it’s too near or too big. —Tom Hirshfield
  5. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. —Salvador Dali
  6. Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity. —Louis Pasteur
  7. The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone. — Karen Salmansohn
  8. The expert in anything was once a beginner.” —Helen Hayes
  9. The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible.” —Charles Kingsleigh
  10. The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. —Bruce Lee

Quotes for Hard Work

Hard work refers to how an employee maximizes his or her time to bring out good work. A hardworking employee is productive, motivated, passionate, and self-reliant (Gallup, n.d.).

  1. A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. —Mildred Struven
  2. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. —David Brinkley
  3. All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. —Calvin Coolidge
  4. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. —Theodore Roosevelt
  5. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. —Joshua J. Marine
  6. Embrace the pain to inherit the gain. —Habeeb Akande
  7. Goodness and hard work are rewarded with respect. —Luther Campbell
  8. I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. — Thomas Jefferson
  9. If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. —Vincent Van Gogh
  10. No great achiever—even those who made it seem easy—ever succeeded without hard work. —Jonathan Sacks

Business News Daily, 2020

Quotes for Positive Attitude

Motivational quotes for employees elicit positive feelings. With these kinds of positive words, employees can feel motivated and take effective actions for the team. (Garvey, 2019).

  1. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. —Paulo Coelho
  2. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty. —Winston Churchill
  3. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. —Denis Waitley
  4. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. —Bill Gates
  5. If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative. —Woody Allen
  6. The road to success is always under construction. —Lily Tomlin
  7. “I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything; “I will try” has performed wonders. — George P. Burnham
  8. Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward. —Brian Tracy
  9. The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude! —Unknown
  10.  A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you. —Joyce Meyer

Quotes for Responsibility

Employees are tasked to carry out certain responsibilities to guarantee that a company is on the right path. A responsible employee is one who is aware of what is expected of him or her (Natter, 2019).

  1. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. —Mark Twain
  2. Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. —Abraham Lincoln
  3. Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. —Thomas Edison
  4. I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough. —Marissa Mayer
  5. Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. — Michael Jordan
  6. Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. —Vincent Van Gogh
  7. Every responsibility you get makes it a pocket of greatness. – Jim Collins
  8. Always deliver more than expected. –Larry Page
  9. Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  10. Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. —Les Brown

Quotes for Teamwork

Teamwork makes tasks simpler, faster, and more manageable. It results in better work productivity, decreased expenses, and increased profitability (BrightHR, n.d.). And, the value of teamwork is not just limited to the workplace. It is valuable at home or in other community service projects that employees or your company are directly involved in.

  1. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. —Michael Jordan
  2. You win by effort, by commitment, by ambition, by quality, by expressing yourself individually but in the team context. —José Mourinho
  3. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. —Benjamin Franklin
  4. Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. —Vincent Van Gogh
  5. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success. —Henry Ford
  6. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. —Phil Jackson
  7. Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. —Ryunosuke Satoro
  8. Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it. — Brian Tracy
  9. The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side. —Margaret Carty
  10. When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality. —Joe Paterno

Quotes for the Tough Times

Everyone needs to work to be able to earn money, put food on their tables, and survive. Unfortunately, not everyone can get a job easily. The COVID-19 pandemic only made things worse when many companies cut their manpower to cope with their losses (Small, 2020). The following quotes for employees aim to inspire those who are still lucky enough to be working and those who are still trying to find work in these tough times.

  1. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. —Helen Keller
  2. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. —Maya Angelou
  3. Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. —Harper Lee
  4. Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. —Voltaire
  5. Not knowing you can’t do something is sometimes all it takes to do it. —Ally Carter
  6. How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top. —Yvon Chouinard
  7. What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. —Tim Ferriss
  8. Fall seven times, stand up eight. —Japanese proverb
  9. Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. —Miguel De Unamuno
  10. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. —Joshua J. Marine

Pew Research Center, 2020

Inspiring Employees at Work and in Life

Everyone has their own reasons to get demotivated, regardless of settings or situations (Sling, n.d.). At work, motivational quotes for employees can bring out the best in them during meetings and performance of tasks. Sharing these quotes is always worth a try because they can help employees get through a meeting, a workday or workweek, or even in life after college (Bell, n.d.).

They can even be helpful to those who juggle work and college life and help those that need professional counseling. Work is not always easy, and it is not supposed to be. Nonetheless, employees who feel that their relationship with their employers is healthy are most likely to stay motivated (Office Salt, n.d.).



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