Driving forces: Understanding the intersection of passion and motivation on home visitor retention

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2021-05
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Plagge, Anne Dahl
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Hughes-Belding, Kere
Peterson, Carla
Luze, Gayle
Choi, Ji-Young
Foegen, Anne
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Human Development and Family Studies
Abstract
Early childhood home visiting is a challenging profession that requires knowledge, skills, and passion for working with families experiencing multiple challenges. Research on workforce satisfaction and retention relies mostly on satisfaction data collected by current home visitors or supervisors of former employees. These studies have identified passion as a common intrinsic motivator for the work. This study was developed to better understand the phenomenon of passion, as well other motivators that aid in workforce retention. Drawing on social exchange theory, a phenomenological approach was used to understand the essence of the home visiting experience and the intersection of relevant motivations, including passion. This research used a conceptual framework that identified and characterized motivators as positive or negative, and intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. Interviews were conducted with current and former home visitors to gain first-hand understanding of this phenomenon. Findings indicated that home visitor satisfaction was heavily influenced by a mixture of positive and negative motivators, intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. Results identified passion as a key intrinsic motivator that was influenced by other motivators in ways that impacted job satisfaction and ultimately retention in home visiting. These other motivators included structural supports (such as agency policies), benefits, and supervision, as well as intrinsic characteristics, such as hopefulness and mindset. This research uncovers some of the complexities in understanding passion as it intersects with other motivators to impact home visitor retention. Implications for supporting home visitor well-being and job satisfaction are discussed.
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