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ESL Lesson Plan: Motivating Staff - Exploring Cross-Cultural Communication Strategies

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

ESL Lesson Plan: Motivating Staff

Topic: Motivation in the Workplace

Objective: To teach intermediate ESL students vocabulary related to workplace motivation, encourage discussions on various motivational techniques, and improve reading comprehension skills.

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes

Warm - Up:

  1. Have you ever received a "good job" from someone? How did it make you feel?

  2. Do you have any ideas to make your school or workplace better? What are they?

  3. What do you like to do during short breaks? Do you think breaks help you work better?

  4. Have you ever celebrated a success with your family or friends? What did you do?

  5. Do you like working in a team or by yourself? Why?

  6. Would you prefer to have flexible work hours? Why or why not?

  7. Have you learned something new recently? How did it make you feel?

  8. Have you ever received a reward for doing well? What was it?

  9. Do you think it's important to know your goals when you're working? Why?

Article :

Simple Ways Employers are Encouraging Better Work

Source: Easy English Insights, by Sarah Johnson, 11 September 2023

Employers are finding new and easy ways to help their employees work better. Here are some simple things that companies are doing:

1. Making Workspaces Nicer

Companies are making work areas more comfortable. They're using nice colors and adding plants. This can help people feel happier and more ready to work.

2. Saying "Good Job"

When employees do well, bosses say "good job." This makes workers feel good and want to keep doing well.

3. Listening to Ideas

Companies are also listening to their workers. They ask for ideas on how to make things better. When people see their ideas used, they feel important and motivated.

4. Short Breaks

Taking short breaks during the day is helpful. It gives people time to rest and relax. After a short break, workers often feel more ready to do their tasks.

5. Celebrating Success

When a company does well, they celebrate. They might have a small party or give everyone a treat. Celebrations make workers feel proud of their company.

6. Teamwork

Working together is good for motivation. When people work as a team, they help each other. This makes the work easier and more fun.

7. Flexible Hours

Some companies let workers choose their work hours. This helps people balance work with their personal lives. When people have flexibility, they feel less stressed.

8. Learning Together

Companies offer training for their workers. Learning new things can be exciting. It helps workers feel more confident and motivated.

9. Simple Rewards

Companies give small rewards for good work. These can be things like gift cards or a free lunch. Simple rewards show workers that their efforts are valued.

10. Clear Goals

When people know what they need to do, they feel more focused. Companies set clear goals, so workers know what they're working towards.

In conclusion, employers are finding easy ways to make work better for their employees. Simple changes like saying "good job" or creating a comfortable workspace can boost motivation and make people feel happier at work.

Vocabulary - Key words

  1. Encouraging: Giving support, praise, or motivation to someone.

  2. Comfortable: Providing a relaxed and cozy feeling; not causing discomfort.

  3. Motivated: Feeling eager and excited to do something.

  4. Confident: Feeling sure and positive about oneself and one's abilities.

  5. Flexible: Able to change or adapt easily; not strict or rigid.

  6. Valued: Considered important or cherished.

  7. Goals: Things that a person wants to achieve or accomplish.

  8. Workspace: The area where a person works, including their desk and surroundings.

  9. Celebrate: To have a special event or activity to mark an achievement.

  10. Training: The process of learning new skills or information.

Discussion Questions:

Section 1: Work Environment

1. How do you feel when your workspace is tidy and colorful?

2. What are some things that can make a workspace more comfortable?

Section 2: Positive Feedback

1. Have you ever received a compliment like "good job" from someone? How did you feel?

2. How does receiving positive feedback from others make you feel?

Section 3: Teamwork and Goals

1. Do you like working with others as a team, or do you prefer working alone? Why?

2. Can you think of a goal you have in your life? What is it?

Section 4: Rewards and Learning

1. Have you ever been given a reward for doing something well? What was it?

2. Is learning new things important? Why do you think so?

In this lesson, we learned about easy and effective methods that companies use to make employees feel motivated and work better. All these simple things make people feel good about their work and want to do their best.




  1. What motivates you to perform well in your studies or tasks?

  2. Have you ever worked in an environment where you felt really motivated? What made it motivating for you?

  3. Can you think of any unique or unconventional ways companies might use to motivate their employees?

  4. How important do you think a positive and motivating work environment is for employees' overall performance?

  5. Have you ever experienced a time when a change in your surroundings (like music or decoration) affected your mood and productivity? Share that experience.


Innovative Approaches Employers are Embracing to Enhance Workplace Performance

Source: Workplace Insights, by Emily Mitchell, 11 September 2023

As the modern business landscape evolves, employers are exploring unconventional avenues to inspire heightened levels of productivity among their workforce. These inventive methods are designed not only to boost efficiency but also to create a more engaging and stimulating work environment. Let's delve into some intriguing strategies being employed by companies to motivate their staff.

1. Rekindling the Past: The Power of Nostalgia

Imagine stepping into an office where the rhythmic clatter of old-fashioned typewriters fills the air. This revival of a bygone era might seem like nostalgia, but its impact is far more profound. Recent studies suggest that the ambient noise of vintage typewriters can elevate energy levels and assist employees in meeting deadlines. This auditory infusion from the past has unexpectedly become a driving force behind productivity.

2. The Declutter Revolution: A Clear-Desk Paradigm

The pursuit of productivity has led to the minimalist trend of clear desks, a practice witnessed in renowned publications like Tatler. Beyond aesthetics, research from the National Association of Professional Organizers reveals that an organized workspace can amplify productivity by up to 30 percent. This trend underlines the notion that an uncluttered desk isn't just pleasing to the eye; it's a catalyst for efficient work processes.

3. Scenting Success: Aromatherapy in the Office

Today's offices are increasingly embracing the power of scents to invigorate their workforce. Companies like Aroma Co have made perfuming offices a deliberate strategy to stimulate employees. The aroma of lavender, in particular, has proven to lower stress levels, promote relaxation, and curtail absenteeism. In the pursuit of heightened motivation, the fragrance of success is wafting through the corridors.

4. Health and Convenience: In-Office Medical Care

The convenience of having in-office doctors on site is redefining workplace wellness. Not only do these healthcare professionals offer immediate medical attention, but they also contribute to reduced absenteeism. The ease of accessing medical care in the workplace is translating into healthier and more engaged employees.

5. Active Workstations: Treadmill Desks for Performance

The rise of treadmill desks is reshaping the concept of a productive workspace. These innovative workstations offer physical health benefits while also enhancing job performance. While the idea of combining work with walking might seem counterintuitive, research suggests that encouraging employees to take short breaks and even naps can significantly boost motivation and efficiency.

6. Creative Sanctuaries: Silicon Valley's Influence

Drawing inspiration from the dynamic tech industry, some workplaces are morphing into adult playgrounds. Silicon Valley's infusion of slides, game rooms, arcade machines, and a constant supply of free snacks creates an atmosphere reminiscent of a theme park. These unconventional environments are a testament to the idea that a playful workspace can stimulate creativity and innovation.

7. Beyond Attraction: Productivity and Perks

While these inventive measures might seem like flashy ways to attract top talent, they are backed by evidence suggesting genuine gains in productivity. The question of whether these initiatives are mere recruitment tools or actual productivity boosters remains a topic of debate.

8. The Psychology of Satisfaction

According to psychologist and author Alison Price, a contented workforce is a productive one. Positive psychology plays a significant role in driving motivation. Happy employees are more likely to be creative, generate increased sales, and exhibit lower rates of absenteeism.

9. A Balance for All Companies: Genuine Appreciation

While large companies often have the means to invest in elaborate motivational strategies, smaller enterprises can benefit from simpler yet impactful gestures. According to Price, a heartfelt "well done" from management can have a substantial impact on employee productivity, regardless of the company's size.

In conclusion, the workplace is experiencing a transformation where unconventional methods are fostering employee motivation and efficiency. From nostalgia-induced soundscapes to health-conscious design, businesses are finding innovative ways to unlock the full potential of their workforce. Whether through aromatic environments, active workstations, or creative sanctuaries, the pursuit of motivation is evolving into an art form that can reshape the future of work.

Vocabulary - Key words

  1. Nostalgia: A feeling of sentimental longing for a past time or situation.

  2. Revival: The act or process of bringing back to life or existence.

  3. Elevate: To raise to a higher position or level; to lift up.

  4. Ambient: Relating to the surrounding environment or atmosphere.

  5. Aesthetics: The study of beauty and the principles of art and taste.

  6. Uncluttered: Free from excessive or unnecessary items; neat and organized.

  7. Invigorate: To give energy and vitality; to refresh and stimulate.

  8. Curtailed: Reduced or limited in extent or quantity.

  9. Convenience: The quality of being suitable, easy, and comfortable to use.

  10. Sanctuaries: Places of refuge or safety; areas that provide a sense of calm and peace.

Discussion :

  1. In your opinion, which is more motivating: financial incentives or non-monetary rewards? Why?

  2. Do you think it's possible to strike a balance between work and play in the workplace? How might this affect employee motivation?

  3. Are there any cultural differences in what might be considered motivating in the workplace? Can you give examples?

  4. What are some common challenges that employees might face in staying motivated at work?

  5. How do you think technology and modern advancements have influenced the way companies approach employee motivation?

Homework :

  • Ask students to research and prepare a short presentation on unique motivational strategies used by companies in their own country.

By integrating engaging activities and the provided article, this lesson plan aims to enhance vocabulary, reading comprehension, and oral communication skills while focusing on the theme of motivation in the workplace.

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