Teacher helping children stack blocks at child care center

How To Retain Staff At Your Child Care Center

Creating a healthy work environment is critical, especially if you are working with children. Working with children requires love, commitment, dedication and tons of patience. Unfortunately, not many people are cut out for the job, and the select few that are wonderful with children and of excellent character, are in high demand. 

As an owner of a child care center, you need to keep your staff happy and make them feel valued and appreciated. If your child care workers are not satisfied with their work environment, they will simply find somewhere else to work. The high demand for individuals who can rise to the occasion and handle anything their job throws at them makes your workers significantly sought after. 

When you are working with children, you do not have the luxury of simply replacing your staff once they decide to resign. Children get emotionally attached to their caregivers, and daycare staff turnover will interrupt their normalcy. Many children will display emotional and behavioral problems once the person they feel attached to is no longer available. At such an impressionable young age, children may even feel abandoned and cannot logically reason why they are left behind.

Young children need to form strong bonds and relationships with their caregivers for healthy emotional development. If that person constantly changes, children will feel unsafe and not knowing what to expect will make them restless and agitated. So, unlike any other business, replacing your employees does not come without a cost to your work. In fact, daycare staff turnover may turn out to be detrimental. 

So how do you retain your staff and keep them happy? 

Setting The Right Tone From The Beginning

Job Description 

Staff retainment begins long before you even hire your staff. It starts with your job description. Your job description needs to be accurate so that potential candidates know exactly what to expect. Do not sugarcoat the job; working with small children is not all peaches, rainbows and unicorns. It is a tiring, exhausting and sometimes even a draining job, but one that is highly rewarding and satisfying. So, when posting an ad for future employees, tell it like it is. The number one reason daycare workers resign is that they find what they are asked to do is not what they actually signed up for. 

Posting Your Job Descriptions

When you write your job description ad, make sure to post it on several forums. Do not rely on a single platform because you run the risk of receiving applications from one single pool of candidates. Instead, post your ads on several sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, where you can attract different types of applicants to increase your chances of finding the perfect match and minimize the risk of staff turnover. 

Hiring The Right Person 

It is paramount that you hire the right person who will be the right fit for your daycare and your little ones. 

Even before the interviewing process begins, you need to run a thorough background check on your applicants. Make sure that they have no criminal record or any complaints about misconduct from their previous employers. Carefully read reference letters and take notes of anything that makes the candidate stand out from the crowd. If something does not strike a chord with you, then it is better to move on to the next applicant. 

During the interview process, don’t  just stick with the ordinary questions. Take time to see the person behind the application. Propose different scenarios and ask them to describe how they would deal with them should the occasion arise. Children are unpredictable, and during the day, anything can happen. They keep you on your toes, so make sure to ask your candidate how they would resolve a crisis. This should give you a clear indication of their character, resourcefulness and ability to navigate through a day with impulsive children. 

Standard Employer Etiquette To Ensure Staff Retainment 

Hiring the right person is only the first step. Retaining your staff, however, is an entirely different matter. As an employer, there is a certain etiquette you need to adhere to in order to maintain your child care staff.

Wages

It’s true! – money does make the world go around. No matter how much your employees love their job and how much they adore children, they are not working out of the kindness of their hearts. They need to be properly compensated for the work they do and paying your staff a decent wage is the right thing to do.

If you want to minimize the turnover risk, you should even pay them above the industry standard. Granted, it may hurt your wallet in the beginning, but it will be well worth it in the long run. The financial cost of turnover is far greater than the cost incurred to keep your staff happy. 

Atmosphere

The atmosphere at your daycare is crucial in staff retainmenand keeping a balanced child-to-teacher ratio is key! If the ratio is not balanced, your teachers will quickly burn out and seek employment elsewhere. Not to mention that the quality of daycare education and individual attention the children receive diminish as more and more children are added to the group. 

Make your daycare staff feel valued. Show them that you care and consider them as a significant addition to your team. Recognize their achievements, lend a sympathetic ear after a hard day. Allow them the freedom and flexibility to run their classroom as they wish. Don’t put a damper on their creativity by continuously stepping in and asking for things to be done differently. Each teacher has a different methodology and you should trust them to do the job you hired them to do. 

Do not consider your staff members as inferiors. They are your employees, but you should treat them as equals. Treat them how you want to be treated; the golden rule of keeping your staff happy. 

Benefits 

Studies show that one of the most important factors that determine staff retainment is benefits. Health insurance, PTO and non-day pay are important in keeping your staff happy. Even though such benefits will increase your average spending, they will help you attract the best employees because it shows that you care about them as people. 

Consistency of Hours 

Remember, the staff at your daycare center are not only teachers! They are wives, mothers, daughters, husbands and fathers and they all have a life outside of your daycare.Being able to rely on a consistent work schedule is paramount. Balancing a personal life with work demands is crucial and can only be achieved if they can depend on a steady schedule. So, if you want to retain your daycare staff and keep them happy, you need to sustain a consistent work schedule. 

Rewards

When you see your employees doing something good, reward them! Simple as that! Feeling valued and appreciated will make them think twice before they decide to take another job offer. 

Minimize Extra Demands

Working with children is highly unpredictable and extremely demanding. Naturally, the job description does not always match to a T and your teachers may find themselves overwhelmed on certain days. Try keeping demands to a minimum and within reason. Stay organized so that your staff does not get overwhelmed!

Retaining Your Day Care Staff

Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of teachers and daycare turnover is high. However, the picture is not that gloomy, and as a daycare owner, you can take steps to retain your staff and keep that sun shining! 

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