70 short motivational quotes to engage and inspire your employees (2024)

Inspiration doesn’t always come naturally, and even the most motivated employees occasionally need a boost.

Employee motivation is a complex process and, as a manager, you might not always have the time to implement exhaustive motivation techniques. That's where short positive quotes come in handy.

Sometimes all we need is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. A little bit of perspective can go a long way, and quotes from inspirational figures can just be the spark that your team needs to overcome a challenge, reach a performance goal, or simply get through an ordinary day.

Whether you want to enhance an email, make your next presentation more impactful, or give your employees a morale boost before a big week, we’ve got a quote for you. Set the tone and get your employees motivated and inspired with this diverse selection of inspirational quotes for any occasion.

Why you should motivate your employees

Employee motivation is a critical aspect of employee engagement. Because it leads to so many benefits for employees, teams and companies, managers should try to find out what motivates their team members. A motivated employee will be willing to go the extra mile to ensure the success of the team and the organization as a whole.

Also, motivation inspires — if an employee is motivated, the behavior might spread to other team members, boosting collaboration and creating a sense of belonging in your team.

22% of employees feel that their work is not fulfilling.

Officevibe Pulse Survey data

On the other hand, a demotivated employee can also spread negativity to others. Be wary of the signs of disengagement so you can quickly re-engage your demotivated employees.

Employee motivation is essential to creating a positive and engaging work environment. Managers should work towards implementing long-lasting engagement initiatives that will contribute to maintaining motivation high, increasing productivity, and achieving team goals.

70 short and inspiring motivation quotes for your employees

Here is a list of our favorite office motivational quotes. These inspirational quotes reflect the wisdom, resilience, and determination of remarkable historic figures. Use them as motivation messages or encouraging phrases for your employees to guide them in doing their best work.

  1. "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." — Alexander Graham Bell
  2. "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." — Dale Carnegie
  3. "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" — Eleanor Roosevelt
  4. "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." — Theodore Roosevelt
  5. "You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction." — George Lorimer
  6. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." — Helen Keller
  7. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." — Martin Luther King Jr.
  8. "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. "However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at." — Stephen Hawking
  10. "When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun, every morning, is a beautiful spectacle, and yet most of the audience still sleeps." — John Lennon
  11. "So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune." — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  12. "If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on." — Sheryl Sandberg
  13. "To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace." — Doug Conant
  14. "When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute." — Simon Sinek
  15. "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." — Benjamin Franklin
  16. "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
  17. "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." — Babe Ruth
  18. "Focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination." — Chris Hadfield
  19. "We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it." — Tony Hsieh
  20. "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!" — Audrey Hepburn
  21. "Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers." — Stephen R. Covey
  22. "Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." — Oprah Winfrey
  23. "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." — John F. Kennedy
  24. "Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company." — Zig Ziglar
  25. "If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything." — Malcolm X
  26. "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
  27. "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." — Lao Tzu
  28. "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." — Henry Ford
  29. "The most effective way to do it is to do it." — Amelia Earhart
  30. "It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years." — Abraham Lincoln
  31. "Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune." — Sam Walton
  32. "Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve." — Mary Kay Ash
  33. "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." — Phil Jackson
  34. "There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow." — Jack Welch
  35. "You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you." — Barack Obama
  36. "Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem." — Bob Kelleher
  37. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." — Thomas Edison
  38. "If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  39. "The first thing that has to be recognized is that one cannot train someone to be passionate–it’s either in their DNA or it’s not." — Richard Branson
  40. "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try." — Seth Godin
  41. "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." — Coco Chanel
  42. "You are never too small to make a difference." — Greta Thunberg
  43. "If you don’t give people a chance to fail, you won’t innovate. If you want to be an innovative company, allow people to make mistakes." — Indra Nooyi
  44. "The only way to do great work is to love what you do." — Steve Jobs
  45. "Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success." — Arianna Huffington
  46. "Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection." — Mark Twain
  47. "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." — Michael Jordan
  48. "When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important." — Ellen DeGeneres
  49. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." — Bill Gates
  50. "If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore." — Michele Ruiz
  51. "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." — Winston Churchill
  52. "People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things." — Edmund Hillary
  53. "The one thing I learned is to just give everything a shot. You don’t want to live in regret." — Chloe Kim
  54. "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." — Walt Disney
  55. "Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." — Madam C. J. Walker
  56. "Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision." — Ben Horowitz
  57. "Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there." — Robert Downey Jr.
  58. "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." — Thomas Edison
  59. "You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." — Maya Angelou
  60. "Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune." — Jim Rohn
  61. "Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own." — Michelle Obama
  62. "Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than the right idea." — Ed Catmull
  63. "It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." — J.R.R. Tolkien
  64. "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." — Mark Cuban
  65. "The true competitors, though, are the ones who always play to win." — Tom Brady
  66. "You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not gonna succeed all the time and I know that." — LeBron James
  67. "Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting." — Larry Page
  68. "The most important investment you can make is in yourself." — Warren Buffett
  69. "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito." — Anita Roddick
  70. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." — Wayne Gretzky

Employee motivation quotes can be used as a quick motivation boost and be sent once in a while to coworkers. This is a simple, time-efficient way to help keep your team motivated.

Inspirational quotes for employees can be used for a short motivational speech before the beginning of an important project or business meeting. You can also start a "Monday motivational quote" tradition with your team — using one per week will give you more than a year's worth of quotes to share!

Encouraging and inspirational quotes are not a long-term solution to maintain engagement levels high within your team. Officevibe's employee engagement tool provides intuitive features to find out how your team really feels and measure the impact of your engagement initiatives, so you can take the right next steps.

FAQ on employee motivation

What is the link between motivation and employee engagement?

Motivation and employee engagement are closely linked. Motivation refers to employees' drive and enthusiasm for their work, while engagement is their emotional connection to the organization. These two concepts reinforce each other: motivated employees are more engaged, and engaged employees tend to be more motivated.

As a manager, fostering this link is essential for a high-performing team. Implementing strategies for skill development, recognition, and a positive work culture boosts motivation and engagement. Encouraging open communication, collaboration, and teamwork further strengthens this connection. Prioritizing employees' well-being and professional growth also creates an inspiring and fulfilling workplace, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

What are the types of motivation?

There are two primary types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within an individual and is driven by personal satisfaction and enjoyment. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation arises from external factors such as rewards or recognition.

Understanding and nurturing both types of motivation can lead to a more motivated and engaged team. Aligning tasks with employees' interests and providing appropriate rewards and recognition are two initiatives managers can use to create a positive and fulfilling work environment.

What are some strategies to improve employee motivation?

To improve motivation and engagement within their workforce, companies can implement various strategies that cater to the needs and aspirations of their employees. These strategies range from recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance to fostering a positive work culture that emphasizes growth and development.

  • Offer opportunities for skill development and training to help employees feel empowered and confident in their roles.
  • Implement a performance recognition program to acknowledge and reward outstanding achievements and contributions.
  • Create a positive work culture that emphasizes teamwork, support, and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Set clear and achievable goals to give employees a sense of direction and purpose in their work.
  • Encourage open communication and feedback to foster a sense of trust and involvement among team members.
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to show employees their value and worth to the organization.
  • Allow for job autonomy, giving employees a sense of control over their work and decision-making.
  • Organize team-building activities and events to strengthen relationships and camaraderie among colleagues.
  • Provide opportunities for career advancement and growth within the company.
  • Celebrate milestones and successes, both big and small, to create a sense of achievement and motivation.

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