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Krista Bordeleau
Owner & Director
Management

4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Promoting Staff in Child Care

Julia Erman
January 22, 2021

Ask any of your staff what motivates them and the potential for promotion will likely be near the top of the list. Promotions don’t only benefit staff by increasing their pay to match their increased responsibilities, they also have added benefits for the employer such as increasing the morale and overall satisfaction of child care employees which in turn leads to higher productivity and increased employee retention.

Although promoting a staff member can greatly benefit the health of your child care business, if you don’t carefully consider potential pitfalls it can actually do more harm than good. Successful promotions need to be fair, consistent, and based on clear criteria. It is important to take off 'the blinders' and keep these four things in mind when promoting your existing staff.

1. Relationships

Don’t Promote a staff member because you like their personality or you are friends with them. This sounds obvious but you’ve probably seen this happen before. Not only will this potentially cause a role to be filled with an unsuitable candidate, but it can create division in your center between staff as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t promote people you get along with, but if you are going to promote a good friend, make sure they are an obvious candidate for the role and that you can defend your choice. I would also recommend having a second set of eyes to consider the promotion as well to ensure that you are making the best decision for the center as a whole. 

2. Attitude

Avoid choosing someone who is qualified but does not have a good attitude. Although we all appreciate a qualified employee, a bad attitude can be contagious within your staff. Avoid promoting people who complain about their job and helping others, or otherwise display a poor attitude to work, staff, or clients. Turning a blind eye to this lack of professionalism and moral fibre will only lead to more headaches down the road. It is much easier to train someone to do their job than it is to train their attitude, although both can be possible with quality, honest feedback. 

3. Right Fit

Avoid placing a staff member who is ready for promotion into a position that is not the best fit for their skills or personality. Although it may be tempting to promote a great employee when an opportunity arises, sometimes it’s better to wait until a position opens up that is a better fit for them. It may help to be honest with them about this by saying something like, “I know you’re ready for promotion, but I’m not sure this role is a good fit, so i’ll be keeping you in mind for future openings”.

4. Expectations

When promoting current staff, create clear expectations about what the new role entails. Make sure that both you and your employee are clear as to the expectations for the role. This could include increased responsibilities, changes in hours or workload, skills or training required, or anything else that might cause friction down the road if it is not clear right away. If you’re not sure where to start, try using a promotion policy template. Starting out with clear expectations, a detailed job description, and a signed offer letter is the best way to set up your staff member for success in their new role. 

Final Notes

Promotions can be exciting for both directors and staff. I Hope these pitfalls don’t scare you away from making promotion decisions as my intention is simply to help you promote your staff in the most effective way possible. By promoting based on suitability over friendship, favouring good attitude over training, waiting for the right fit, and setting out clear expectations from the start you will avoid the most common mistakes and promote success as you grow your childcare business!

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