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Building and Retaining a Strong Early Childcare Workforce

As a childcare facility administrator, the choices you make greatly affect the lives of infants and toddlers. The staff you choose will bond with the little guys and gals your facility cares for and is an important facet of helping the children learn and grow and showcasing your facility’s value to their parents.

One challenge to this is that childcare providers all have slightly different methods and styles. You want to uphold the value promises you’ve given parents and your belief and training. So let’s talk about the steps to finding great talent that aligns with your business.

  1. Get the word out. Cast a wide net in your community to showcase your job opening. Don’t just pull a job description from the web though. While this can be a great starting point, this is your chance to clearly state your teaching methodology to ensure you don’t have to sit through interviews with individuals who don’t fit your business. If you have key differentiating factors like talents in lesson planning or creative crafts, put that in the job description and ask for samples of work. In many places, you can even request that they come up with a lesson plan or craft that they would do for your classroom, were they to get hired. Now post this job description on sites like Monster and Indeed, but also consider community forums like churches or rec centers where local teachers might spend time.
  2. Interview and do your due diligence. Write your list of interview questions before you sit down with a candidate. This will help ensure you don’t forget to ask crucial questions that matter to you and that you stay in compliance by only asking legal questions. If you like the candidate, follow through and ask for references. Often the people that they’ll choose to provide you will be people they know like them, but complete the reference check anyway. Ask leading questions about key things you liked or didn’t like about the candidate to ensure that they tell a consistent story, and listen for long pauses from the references to see if they’re thinking hard about how to cast the candidate in a good light.
  3. Complete a background check. These individuals will be spending time with the most precious possessions of parents. Ensure you’ve chosen well by having candidates submit to a background check once you’ve made a job offer. These will cost you a little bit of money, but it’s worth it in the long run to uphold the standards and quality of your facility and not have to go through a bad PR event due to a poor hire.

With these three steps, you’ve hopefully built a strong workforce. Now the next key is retaining that workforce so that you don’t have to constantly go through the hiring process. Here are perks that your workforce will enjoy having that can help you keep your best people:

  1. Great benefits. Provide your staff health, dental and vision insurance, but also consider other benefits like short term disability and life insurance. The more inclusive you can be – even if you don’t cover the benefits in full and give the employee the option to purchase at a lower group rate – the more likely your employees are to stay.
  2. Offer paid training. Allow your staff to go to continuing education classes or workshops in the area that you pay for and still pay them for their time attending. Employees want to know they’re growing in their jobs and training can help them feel that way.
  3. Perks like a stocked break-room and an allowance for classroom supplies. This will help employees feel valued and allow them to be inventive with their classroom without making them feel like they have to ask for every piece of construction paper they need to buy for craft time.
  4. PTO and paid holidays. Although your operation may be small, this is an important benefit for employees. If you can afford it, allow your employees to relax without worrying about the finances behind their time off.
  5. A career plan. One of the main reasons employees leave a company is because they’re ready for that next step in their career. Have regular meetings with each staff member to discuss career goals. This will help with succession planning as well so that your facility doesn’t go through major changes when a manager leaves. Be open and honest with your employees about their performance and where their career is headed.
  6. Make classroom life easy and enjoyable. As listed above, a budget for buying new materials helps this one, but teachers enjoy teaching and not taking attendance. Make the minute tasks easy with childcare software like iCare Software. iCare allows teachers to easily connect with parents throughout the day and showcase what’s happening in their classroom. This provides the teachers fulfilling moments when parents get to show their appreciation for their hard work.

Follow these steps and you should have a strong workforce that stays loyal to you for many years to come.

iCare Software

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