Even though we all know how important daycare staffing is, that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake. These are the people who will be representing your daycare day in and day out, so make sure you are fully satisfied with who you’ve got on the team.
And if you need to make changes or this is your first experience with daycare staffing, we’ve got a few helpful tricks up our sleeve.
First step: Finding candidates
This is easier said than done. Quality daycare staff is in high demand, so make sure you and your daycare come across as appealing to prospective employees.
When looking for candidates, opt for a combined approach: post ads online on sites like Craigslist and Indeed, but spread the word of mouth, as well.
We’ve talked about referral bonuses, which are always a good idea in daycare staffing. Your current employees may know about a colleague who is looking for a job and has all the qualifications you need. Don’t forget to make use of that.
You can even post about looking for staff on your daycare’s website.
Daycare staffing takes time, so make sure you’ve given yourself plenty. Don’t rush into hiring someone who might prove to be a bad fit for your daycare.
As for job postings themselves, know what state and federal laws apply to daycare staffing. They dictate the level of experience and education caregivers must have.
For everything else, it’s good to ask the candidates to write a cover letter in addition to their resume.
To filter out only serious candidates and to make your decision easier, you can offer them a scenario of a situation they might come across and ask how they would resolve it.
For example, how would they deal with an unruly child? Would they discipline them or redirect them?
Remember that qualifications, education and certifications are just the basics of daycare staffing – every caregiver has to have them. The rest of their resumes and cover letters should show that they are adaptable and possess soft skills necessary for working in your daycare center.
Second step: Vetting candidates
It’s time to see if the potential employee fits your daycare. This is perhaps the most important part of daycare staffing because every owner has a different philosophy, and some caregivers don’t have the adaptability necessary to adjust.
At this point, you can hold interviews with a few candidates that you think fit best. This is a good time to tell them more about your daycare’s philosophy, and pose questions with concrete scenarios.
This is similar to the cover letter scenario they should answer, but in this case they have been made aware of your particular philosophy and should resolve it with your methods in mind.
Since caregivers come from different work backgrounds, don’t just look at their responses in general daycare staffing light. Look at them in your daycare’s light. Maybe they’ve worked in very formal daycare centers in the past, while you pride yourself on a comfortable atmosphere.
These are all important parts of your decision, and don’t ignore your gut feeling, either.
When you’ve picked the perfect candidate and are seriously considering hiring them, conduct a background check.
It’s best to leave this kind of task to experts who offer investigative services. This can be somewhat costly, between $50 and $200 dollars, so make sure you’ve included that in the budget. If it’s a tight fit, don’t risk your daycare’s security and instead, look into ways of earning extra revenue. For example, Hopping In helps you fill vacant spots in your daycare, bringing you one step closer to the waitlist and simplifying the process of part-time and drop-in bookings.
After you’ve conducted background check (criminal records, etc.), make sure you check the candidates’ references, as well.
Third step: Onboarding
In daycare staffing, guidance is everything.
Daycare center staff orientation doesn’t end with the basic tour of facilities. This will be an employee who will be part of your team for a long time, so make sure you are giving them the important information first and plenty of materials (physical and social) they can reference.
If possible, you can also have them observe other staff to get acquainted with how your daycare’s philosophy works in practice.
And after they’ve learned the basics and started successfully working on their own, don’t forget to motivate your employee.
Make sure your staff feels valued every day, and celebrate successes with them. Bonuses or gifting opportunities – even just a chance to put their feet up for a bit and chat about their families, it’s all an amazing way to show understanding for your employees.
This can require additional funds so if your daycare isn’t running at full capacity, you can take a look at Hopping In and see how it can help you fill vacant spots.
Set aside the funds needed to show your employees how much you appreciate their help. This may not be a part of daycare staffing, but it is a part of turning your staff into a team. After that, growing is no pain at all.
Our friends at HiMama have written a really helpful guide titled The Complete Guide to Hiring & Retaining Early Childhood Educators. This is a great resource to print and have on your desk to help you follow steps to help you hire and retain great childcare staff!