The child care industry is growing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics projects that day care businesses will have some of the fastest employment growth of all industries through 2020. High demand for child care is making it tougher for centers to find staff as there are a limited supply of early educators available. This makes it tough for growing centers to hire and retain the number of employees that they need. If you’re fortunate enough to have great early educators working at your center, here are five things you can do to keep them.
Leadership starts with you as the owner or manager of your child care center. All employees need good leadership to steer them in the right direction. It’s important to lead by example, encouraging your employees and providing guidance as necessary. Show that you’re passionate about your work as this will wear off on your child care staff and incentivize them to work hard so they can perform at your level.
Employees at any level want to feel empowered. One of the best ways to empower your employees is by showing trust in them. Give them opportunities to exceed expectations, and challenge them with responsibilities that they have to work hard to accomplish. By meeting and exceeding your expectations they will feel more confident in their own ability and will be motivated to continue growing in the role at your child care center.
It’s important for managers and leaders to provide recognition and show appreciation to their staff when they do good work. And appreciation doesn’t always need to be displayed with financial recognition. Simply take the time to talk with your staff, letting them know when they are doing a great job and telling them that you appreciate the effort they’re putting in. When mistakes are made, take them aside quietly and show your support by constructively pointing out the mistake that they’ve made, and explaining how they can do things differently in the future. Positive communication with your staff will help you to build a relationship of trust and respect.
In an article by Forbes - 2 New Studies Reinforce Why Company Culture Is So Important it explains very clearly how important company culture is for employees. By providing a positive atmosphere and by balancing work and fun, your staff will be happier and more willing to put in the extra work for the benefit of your child care center. It also promotes better relationships between employees, which will result in a better team effort overall.
Many child care centers operate with very tight margins, especially if they are a non-profit organization or a co-op preschool or child care center. This can make it difficult to allocate funds towards staff incentives. However, keep in mind that there are significant costs associated with losing good employees. Replacing an employee means that you need to to go through the process of hiring and training someone all over again. Going above and beyond to keep your employees happy in their job can save you the costs associated with the time and effort required to hire new staff. Remember, incentives don’t have to be excessive. Simple ‘Employee of the Month’ recognition and small give-aways as rewards for a job well done can also be exciting incentives for child care staff at your center.