As the first point of contact with the families, your employees shoulder a lot of responsibility.
From good first impressions to staff morale and implementing changes, HoppingIn will review what it takes to raise the professionalism of your staff.
The Importance of First Impressions
Let’s start with the basics. The first things parents see or fail to see (and they jot that down unconsciously) are uniforms or lack thereof.
When it comes to uniforms, they are more than a sensible choice. They are the important first impression because they show the parents that each member of the staff is on the same page when it comes to taking care of their children.
It’s one thing to see a bunch of casually dressed adults that look haphazardly thrown into the mix with kids, and a wholly another to see professional caregivers interacting with children.
You may opt for an informal uniform consisting of a T-shirt and pants with your daycare’s logo, if your daycare is focused on a comfortable experience. If you are going for a more professional approach that emphasizes hygiene and safety, you can opt for colorful scrubs.
Whichever uniform type you choose, make sure that it fits your center’s philosophy.
Train for Success
So you’ve taken a look at the candidate’s qualifications but there’s a few things they should know about how you do things around here.
That’s where quality training comes in.
Even if you’re considering hiring an experienced caregiver, it’s good to show them your perspective on working with children. Every daycare owner has a different way of doing things and training will help new employees understand yours.
Training is also a good indicator of how easily the employee can adapt to different situations. Every child has different needs and in working with them, no two days are the same.
If your employee shows adaptability in training, you can rest easy knowing that they are more likely to adapt to challenges they will face while working with children.
You may be working with kids but you are working with adults, too, and sometimes that’s even trickier.
No matter if it comes to staff gossip or an unsatisfied employee, keep your cool.
What is important is coming from a place of understanding for both parties. This is also a way of adding your personal touch and making sure that everyone feels heard, even if the issue can’t be resolved immediately.
The main questions to ask are:
1) What is the real problem?
2) Can you do anything to change the situations that cause conflicts?
3) What can you do in the short term?
4) What can you do in the long term?
Getting the right answers is easy through open communication, so make sure you foster it in the workplace.
Don’t be surprised if you have to resort to the ancient facilitator of polite communication – a talking piece. It works for kids, it might just work for adults.
Some things, of course, take time. Perhaps an employee is bothered by a particular policy in your daycare (for example, sick leave) and while you can’t change that overnight, coming up with a temporary relief helps.
The previous dissatisfied employee will understand that you are doing everything you can to fix the issue in the long term, all the while being reassured by a short-term solution.
If the problem at hand is pay, it’s good to look into ways of generating extra profit. HoppingIn allows you to do just that by re-booking unused spots.
Every staff member needs to feel valued, and a bonus can go a long way.
Play isn’t just for the kids. Forget the work vs play divide and use it to improve the staff morale.
Reward your employees for successes – a good month or a semester is a cause for everyone’s celebration, not just yours. While your priority may be parents and kids, your employees are the ones handling them and making sure that everyone is feeling nice and cozy.
It’s easy for an employee to feel demotivated if they feel like they’re just a cog in the machine. As the owner, it helps to show them how happy you are they are a part of the daycare’s journey, and allow them to feel responsible for that success.
This can be done through gifting or parties, depending on your staff’s preferences. A small token of appreciation goes a long way and an outing is a good way for the employees to connect. This can nip conflicts in the bud and improve cooperation.
If allocating funds for gifting and celebrations is a problem, make use of HoppingIn that allows you to generate even more profits without sacrificing quality.
Parents Love It, We’re Not Too Keen
To use a work-appropriate metaphor, some employees just don’t play well with others. They can be great caregivers that parents love but if you’re spending more time resolving conflicts than optimizing the daycare, it becomes a significant loss in the books.
While it’s easy to get extra funds with HoppingIn, there are other things to touch up and an ineffective team can be worse than no team at all.
Same goes for policies that parents love but you know them to be unsustainable. This is where being an owner means having 20/20 vision, too. You have to do what’s best in the long term – even if it means resistance at first.
When implementing changes, be aware of those who will resist them most. A little reassurance to both staff and the parents goes a long way.
And like with everything, hold on to your cool and communicate. There are perks for everyone in every change. Just make sure they know it.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org