Your employees will expect that you know what you’re doing and can tell them which way to go. They will expect that you’re running your childcare center with some level of knowledge and expertise. You must do this through examples of leadership and direction, even if you’re not sure where you’re going. The best leaders exude confidence and knowledge in their decision making, even if they are unsure. Most of these leaders still succeed because they are constantly researching new ideas and answers while inspiring their team with confidence.
Some simple ways to not only meet, but exceed expectations for the owner of a childcare center are to:
Expectations aren’t just for you, but they double on your staff’s side of things. In order to keep them on track for your expectations, set up regular performance reviews. These should not be treat as times to degrade or humiliate, but treated as times to help your employees improve as members of your fine childcare center team. Employees generally love to receive feedback, so long as it’s given in a respectful way. Being positive doesn’t mean only having positive things to say, but wording things in a positive way instead of saying, “You need to learn to be on time, you’re late every day,” or you could say it in a nicer way, “You exceed in so many ways, but the one weakness I’ve noticed is tardiness. If you were looking to improve as a childcare professional, that would be the way to do it.” All feedback should be given in a non-aggressive and non-accusatory way. If someone receives the same feedback or is showing dangerous behavior, then it is time to seriously consider cutting them from your staff and replacing them with someone would not only be happy as a member of your staff, but a member who is willing to grow with you, your team, and your kids. All About Kids should be a fun and safe environment where everyone is able to participate and grow, but the wrong personalities can stunt not only your staff, but the kids attending your childcare center.
When your employees are going through orientation and training, you should make it clear about your policies when it comes to substances used during off hours and on hours at any All About Kids locations. Considering All About Kids is a childcare center and a learning center, we have a zero tolerance policy for the use of any illegal drugs or the use of alcohol on or around the premises. As the franchisee and business owner, you should make it a top priority to inform that no employee should ever come to work in a less than sober disposition and those who do will be terminated on the spot.
Children’s safety is number one and it cannot be kept if it doesn’t start first with the teachers and supervisors of your childcare center. Lead by example because kids are constantly learning sponges.
You might find that you desire staff meetings for your teaching staff, your supervisor staff, or your administration staff. You may find that you want to do meetings together as an entire group or separate them based on the age of the class they teach or the roles they play in your childcare center. Make sure to give your employees plenty of heads up when you’re planning a staff meeting and when it is. When you hold a staff meeting, especially if it’s before open hours, make sure to keep track of time and set a second meeting if needed in order to continue the discussion. You do not want to run over when your staff needs to get back to their kids. Also keep in mind that if you do too many early meetings, your staff may become less than pleased with you so you should keep long, early hour meetings to a minimum.
Rewards and Recognition
At All About Kids, we teach our kids that if they do the right thing, do well in class, and apply themselves, they will be rewarded and recognized for their effort. As an employer and business owner, you need to do that for the staff in your childcare center as well. Everyone who works hard deserves to have their hard work noticed every once in a while. This is how you maintain a happy staff, this is how you think and grow innovatively, and this is how you minimize employee turnover. There are a few ways to reward your team. You can do it individually or as a group. Use whichever ways seem appropriate for your work culture and what would be most rewarding to your staff.
A great way to reward hard work and improve co-worker morale is through large office parties for the members of your staff and their families. These can be done seasonally, around holidays, or randomly as you see fit. You should always cater or mostly cater these yourself or you can do them potluck style. However typically the employer still picks up the bill for bringing a large portion of the food. To make these parties even more fun and rewarding, consider giving away prizes like gift baskets, gift cards, or something else you believe your team might enjoy. Prizes like these can be done through a raffle or holiday themed contest held within your childcare center. Just remember that these parties are after hours and shouldn’t take place on any nights where you have to be up early for work in the morning.
With awards, you can present them at holiday parties, staff meetings, or sporadically throughout the year. You can make up whatever titles you see fit that would work for your childcare center, but some to consider are:
These awards should only be used to encourage employees and call attention to the good that they are doing, not to shame those who did not win the awards or to call out other employees with problematic habits to act more like Janet.
Recognize Years of Service
You might not think about it as a business owner, but when employees have stuck with a company for one year, five, or ten, they feel incredibly respected and humbled when their employer not only knows they exist, but also recognizes the loyalty that they’ve shown over the years. Design certificates and record your employees’ years of service, perhaps reward them with candy, a small gift card, baked goods, or some other form of gratitude while honoring their contribution to the success of your childcare center.
Show interest in your employee’s lives outside of your childcare center. Recognizing accomplishments can be a new child is born in one of your coworkers lives, someone graduated from college, someone is having a birthday, someone just bought a house or got married. Whatever it is. If you show interest and attention to your employees and even celebrate their forthcomings with them, you nearly insure the happiness and longevithy in their service to you. Consider putting this kind of information in the monthly newsletter that you send to parents along with information like how your team gave up their Friday night in order to train further in child health and safety.
Be a Part of National Celebration Weeks
All office workers know about administrative appreciation week, well why not also take the opportunity to promote caregiver appreciation week? During this week, why not take the chance to honor all the teachers and supervisors in your childcare center? You can make spirit days, bring in flowers or other gifts, create cards, and offer raffle prizes of some kind with write in nominees.
Another great way to make a difference during caregiver appreciation week is to throw a special luncheon for your staff and to recognize their hard work, dedication, and impact on your childcare center. Try to use this time to inspire, encourage, and enthuse your staff. An appreciated staff is a happy staff and a happy staff works harder and maintains loyalty.