Managing daycare staff is a top priority for any successful early childhood education business. It takes a lot of kindness, creativity, integrity, and dedication to run a daycare, and there’s no doubt that recruiting and managing staff is a rewarding yet ever-challenging part of the job.
It’s not getting any easier to find and hire staff for your childcare center. In the US, the unemployment rate now hovers around 4%, significantly lower than the 14% rate seen at the outbreak of the pandemic back in April 2020.
COVID mandates are lifting, people are going back to work, and those who lost their jobs previously are embracing new livelihoods. The world is opening back up, but if you’re managing a daycare center, it’s easy to feel like there aren’t enough qualified professionals to help you run your business.
But regardless of whether your childcare center is overwhelmed with job applications or still struggling to hire new employees, some expert hiring tips can help you grow your business. Keep reading to learn how to recruit daycare teachers and manage staff in the “new normal”.
1. Start with a Clear Job Description
If you’re having difficulty hiring quality teachers, revise your job listings. Finding the best staff members for your daycare means you must first clearly state the values, mission statement, and job requirements at your center.
A clear, attention-grabbing job description includes:
- A brief overview of why your daycare is a great place to work, including your basic teaching philosophy
- Specific job responsibilities and duties that are expected for the position
- Required qualifications of childcare staff, including education, ECE certifications, background, experience, and more
- Potential opportunities for staff to grow
- Contact information or application form
Also, consider the length of your job listing. If it’s too long, applicants won’t read all of it; if it’s too short, both hiring managers and candidates miss important information about the job.
2. Know Where to Recruit Daycare Teachers
The places you share daycare job opportunities can affect your chances of meeting the perfect hire. One reliable option is to share the word with colleagues and existing employees. Sometimes you can hire teachers already in your immediate social networks, so ask around.
For online recruiting, post the job listing on relevant websites. Local education community boards, classifieds, or job sites like LinkedIn or Indeed are great options. Consider posting on a site like Care.camp, a childcare job site specifically for daycare centers and preschools.
Pro tip: the best daycare centers are always thinking about recruitment — even if there aren’t any positions currently open. Stay prepared, know your ideal candidate, and build a healthy network in the local childcare community. If unexpected staffing issues occur, you’ll be ready to interview and hire in no time.
3. Interview and Hire the Best Childcare Candidates
During the recruitment process, save the best applicants that meet all requirements and preferences for the job. Compile a list of contacts to call for a brief phone interview, asking key questions like:
- What do you love about working with kids?
- Why are you interested in becoming part of the team at this daycare center?
- What education or experience do you have that would make you a great fit for this job?
Phone interviews are an easy way to weed out daycare staff applicants that aren’t a good match for your business. Narrow down your list of top candidates and then schedule in-person interviews. When meeting face-to-face, you can ask about childcare and education philosophies, get to know the candidate’s personality, and invite them to ask any questions they have about your business.
When the final decision to hire daycare center staff is made, it’s time to start thinking about onboarding and management. Conduct background checks, observe how your new employee interacts with the kids at your center, and acclimate them with the childcare leadership team. Do all that, and your new staff member will feel right at home from day one.
4. Learn How to Retain Childcare Staff
Recruiting is important, but managing daycare staff is what makes your daycare center run smoothly. Ongoing employee turnover can be costly, emotionally draining, and time-consuming. That’s why it’s so important to keep your teachers and staff happy while building your daycare business.
One-third of recent childcare employees surveyed claimed exhaustion and burnout are their main challenges. Creating and maintaining good working conditions, as well as ensuring healthy peer relationships, are some of the most important things you can do in your childcare business.
Other ideas for better employee retention include:
- Have clear expectations and share learning assessments across classrooms
- Give employees breaks, time off, and work-life balance
- Lead by example, make proactive changes when necessary, and always do the right thing
- Offer growth opportunities and career development resources to your staff
- Regularly show appreciation, thanks, and recognition for your team, both internally and externally
- Encourage good communication and listening between employees
- Make use of digital management tools that keep everyone on the same page
- Don’t forget to have fun! Allow your staff to enjoy their work and be themselves
5. Excel At Teacher, Staff, and Daycare Management
Whether or not you’re currently hiring, managing daycare staff is your main responsibility. There’s always room for improvement in any business. Daycare businesses are a unique combination of professionalism, care, and play, where all types of personalities are involved in leadership.
Good management isn’t easy, but there are some ways you can make your daycare better for everyone:
- Establish consistency among classrooms, teachers, and staff. Discuss learning outcomes, stick to a schedule, and keep up with proper documentation
- Equip staff members with technology that helps them do their jobs more efficiently. Some daycare management apps can help staff monitor class progress, communicate with parents, and send reports to other teachers with ease
- Hold regular meetings with managers, teachers, and staff members, and make sure everyone has a chance to voice their successes and concerns. Listen to your staff, and consider their ideas to improve your business
With the right strategy and tools in place, your daycare business can be a pleasant facility for everyone involved. Parents, teachers, children, and directors can all benefit from excellent management systems across the board.
Managing Daycare Staff – Tools for Success
Many childcare centers today rely on multi-featured daycare management software. With the advanced technology available today, it’s likely that running a childcare business without organizational software is holding you and your employees back.
If you need help improving the overall management of your childcare business throughout the year, consider a platform like Daily Connect.
Setting up a childcare management platform gives you and your team access to instant parent-teacher communication, classroom progress data, parent billing features, and more.
Reach out today to start developing the team your childcare center needs to thrive.