Having the right employees is crucial to running a successful childcare business. Teachers make sure young students stay on track with learning outcomes, while support staff help educators and directors complete important everyday tasks to ensure children’s needs are met. But how can you find the right employees when it’s time to hire?
Today, finding the right childcare workers is of vital importance. It’s no secret, however, that it’s becoming increasingly difficult as the job market continues to fluctuate.
Whether you’re hiring your first staff members for your childcare business or you need to meet high turnover rates at your daycare, there are several hiring requirements today. Keep reading to learn how you can hire (and retain) great childcare workers.
Finding Qualified Childcare Staff
Before you begin the hiring process, know what you want in an ideal new hire. What skills, personality traits, availability, or formal training will a staff member need for the position? Once you determine this, it’s time to get applicants. Here are some tips on how.
Create a Job Ad
Your job listing should include a clear title. In the description, include a list of requirements, qualifications, and expectations for this position. List your top childcare policies so applicants get a sense of what your business is all about. Include any benefits, growth opportunities, and other helpful information that might attract interested employees.
Publish Job Listings to the Right Platforms
You can share your job listing both online and in person. Online platforms that promote business networking include LinkedIn, Nextdoor, and Indeed. Family-specific platforms like care.com or local community forums are also good options.
In person, you can post bulletins at your local library, gym, church, or coffee shop. Make sure to include your website or contact information so applicants can reach out.
Inform Your Network You’re Hiring
Sometimes, the best hires occur from an existing connection. Let your colleagues, friends, and family know that you’re hiring, as well as where they can refer someone to apply.
Conducting Interviews With Childcare Applicants
The typical interview process for childcare employees consists of an initial phone call, an in-person interview, and an on-site interaction with the kids.
The interview process begins with a phone screening with individual applicants that live up to your requirements. This is a chance for you and an applicant to introduce yourselves, discuss the position in more detail, and get a sense of whether or not they might be a good fit.
If you want to move forward with an applicant, arrange an in-person interview. This is the official job interview where you consider a person’s skills and ability to cooperate in a childcare environment.
Here are some questions to cover in the interview:
- What is your experience in childcare (or with children)?
- What interests you in childcare work?
- In a specific scenario where X happens, what would you do? (Role-play the situation.)
- As a childcare provider, you’ll need to undergo background checks. How do you feel about this?
- Tell me a little bit about your interests and hobbies outside of work.
- What are some of your weaknesses in team settings?
The in-person interview is a chance for you to gain information about a person’s communication style, experience, and overall competencies.
After the interview, schedule some time for a “trial shift” where the person comes in to interact during childcare hours. This allows you to observe how the person engages with kids. It doesn’t have to be a complete shift — even 15-30 minutes will give you a glimpse into how they carry themselves and the ways they react to others. Do this before making a job offer.
Onboarding and Training New Childcare Employees
If someone checks all the boxes and you like how they engage with children at your childcare center, it’s time to arrange their first day on the job. Their first day will be a day of onboarding.
Onboarding is when you help new hires acclimate to their new job. New employees should:
- Receive a tour of the childcare facility
- Complete new hire paperwork
- Get to know the staff and students
- Learn about daily tasks, policies, and expectations
- Receive an official training schedule or timeline
- Learn any childcare software necessary for the job
Every childcare center is slightly different, but these items are crucial to enable new hires to succeed. Typically, training lasts several days or weeks, or until the new employee is ready to carry out duties confidently without help. Remember to stay open to any questions they may have during their first month of employment.
Retaining Your Childcare Center Employees
Once you’ve made a good hire and they’ve completed the training process, your efforts aren’t done. Retaining employees and making sure they’re fulfilled at their job is another goal in itself — one that’s well worth the effort on your part.
Most people want to feel recognized, appreciated, and supported in social situations, especially when it comes to the workplace. Focus on upholding a positive team culture that encourages personal growth, professional development, and financial incentive.
Here are some ideas for retaining great childcare workers long-term:
- Have a pay raise strategy (yearly or performance-based)
- Encourage professional development (training, schooling, promotions)
- Offer team activities (quarterly staff events, weekly meetings, employee of the month programs)
- Give private and public appreciation to staff (verbal thanks, thank you cards, public praise)
- Stay consistent (avoid changing policies or expectations unless necessary)
Above all, make sure you (as the boss) have a good attitude. Give positive and constructive feedback to staff. Say something when you see a staff member do something commendable. Delegate tasks that coincide with someone’s strengths, and offer help where there are weak points. Take care of your business, and be a leader who helps others learn to lead.
Childcare Management Software: Daily Connect for Teachers and Staff
Know what to look for when hiring, conduct professional interviews, improve your training process, and maintain an ideal work environment. All these things encourage your childcare employees to thrive.
Hiring employees is one thing; managing and retaining a team is a whole different part of success. Two key parts of employee satisfaction are structure and communication at your business. In childcare today, this often requires digital software that makes the job easier on you and your team.
The leading childcare software, Daily Connect, encourages better communication and staff retention. Not only does the app streamline everyday tasks like learning assessments, parent billing, and reporting features, but it also helps you and your staff stay organized. It allows teachers and staff to communicate between different classrooms, access daily checklists, keep track of attendance, and more.
Get the tools your childcare center needs to become a more welcoming, organized workplace for everyone. Take the extra work out of childcare management so you and your staff can focus on what matters: being present at a job that serves your community. Get started with a free trial of Daily Connect software today to support your next hire.