Managing a childcare business takes a lot of work. None of it would be possible without the help of your hardworking teachers and staff. But with so many uncertainties lately such as staffing shortages and changing education trends, many childcare centers struggle to retain quality employees.
If you’re a childcare provider, you likely know the stress that comes with a high employee turnover rate. It costs your business time, money, and energy, and results in added chaos. Even more painfully, it puts the kids and families you serve at risk of feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied.
Staff retention should be a top priority if you want to build a more structured and competent workforce that results in a healthier learning environment for children. Keep reading to discover some of the best ways to retain your childcare center employees this year.
1. Strategize Employee Pay Raises
Providing pay increases based on time served and performance is an effective strategy for retaining your childcare staff. If you don’t have strategy that outlines the pay increases your staff can expect over time, consider revising your budget so you can give pay increases throughout your employees’ careers.
With the effects of inflation hurting families all over the country, childcare workers need pay raises if they’re to earn livable wages. Statistics from recent years show that nearly 50% of childcare workers, primarily women, are eligible for low-income public assistance programs, meaning their income is at poverty levels.
To hire and retain the best childcare staff, the pay offered needs to be reasonable. Childcare is physically and emotionally demanding, often requiring long hours. Learn how to improve your childcare business and make room to look after your staff well.
2. Encourage Career Growth
Initially, a new childcare worker might work as an assistant teacher or support staff. While this is a necessary and rewarding role, it’s not a position every childcare employee wants to stay in long-term.
Offer career growth opportunities for your staff. You can do this through various avenues:
- Encourage employees to advance their knowledge and skills.
- Educate your team on how they can work their way up to higher roles with more responsibilities and better income.
- Inform your staff about new job openings and try to promote members of your team before hiring an entirely new employee.
- Invest in employees who show commitment and potential. Offer them career guidance, tell them the qualities you see in them, and show them where they could be in 3-5 years.
For individual development, employees need to have goals. Whether a staff member is in school and working a summer job or pursuing a career in childcare long-term, challenge every employee to grow.
3. Prioritize Team Training and Development
The best childcare centers operate thanks to cohesive teams. This is why it’s so important to invest in team development, employee training, and healthy workplace communication. How do childcare centers do this?
- Your onboarding process is informative and supportive. New hires feel comfortable reaching out for help, communicating their successes and struggles, and feeling welcome in their new job. They learn how to work and perform to the best of their ability upfront.
- You arrange regular team meetings that involve every staff member, from directors to managers to support staff. Meetings are focused, engaging, and full of value. Everyone has room to share their thoughts.
- You offer ongoing employee training opportunities to keep staff interested in the latest developments in childcare, your workplace, and family communication.
Teamwork studies reviewed by Harvard Business School show that workplace environments that actively pursue authenticity, appreciation, and team bonding see higher performance and greater retention rates.
4. Allow Flexible Scheduling
Now more than ever, people’s schedules are highly individualized. From balancing a blended family to attending school online, childcare employees need a workplace that’s flexible with the demands modern life presents.
Staff retention for childcare centers requires managers to remain open to flexible scheduling. For example, don’t deny a potentially top-performing employee just because they can’t work Thursdays and Fridays. There might be another employee who can’t work Wednesdays, and would be willing to switch and fill in the gaps.
Give your employees the respect and freedom to pursue what matters to them, and in return, they’ll do their best on the clock.
5. Express Appreciation for Staff
Nobody wants to work at a place where they feel undervalued or unappreciated— especially at such an involved, high-energy job as childcare. Staff appreciation is critical to keeping your best employees committed and content.
Show appreciation daily by thanking staff for all their hard work. Publicly praise outstanding performances and take the time to give small gifts of appreciation every year. This can include holiday bonuses, gift cards, staff lunches, or occasional staff dinners and nights out.
Time off is another way to express your gratitude and prevent employee burnout. Your employees are essential to the daily operation of your business. But they’re also human, and everyone needs to take a break once in a while. Allow paid time off, vacation hours, and sick leave so your staff feel valued and cared for.
6. Stay Consistent With Childcare Policies
According to the Child Development Council, the quality of childcare is greatly impacted by adherence to state and local policies. Maintaining the appropriate teacher-student ratios, following health and safety regulations, and committing to the annual accreditation process are all things that childcare customers value.
Avoid repeatedly changing the processes and procedures at your childcare center unless necessary. Keep operations consistent to prevent confusion, miscommunication, and burnout among your team members.
7. Provide Your Team With Tools to Succeed
Administrative tasks are part of the daily duties of your childcare employees. Sometimes, these mundane tasks can eat away precious time that could instead be spent giving care and education to the kids.
Make it easier on your team by giving them the tools they need to excel at their roles. This includes everything from clear instructions to regular employee reviews to the right type of childcare technology.
With childcare software, directors and employees can stay on the same page with attendance, learning objectives, class curriculum, and parent communication. Apps like Daily Connect organize all the admin tasks and management protocols into one comprehensive, digital platform that saves employees time.
Better Staff and Teacher Retention for Your Childcare Business
Whether you’re new to owning a childcare business or you’re an experienced director currently facing a staffing shortage, revising the management of your whole business is a must. It starts with the systems you rely on daily, both physical and digital.
Improve your staff performance and retention with the help of streamlined childcare management software. To learn more, reach out to Daily Connect today and get a free trial.