Published Date: 04/29/19
With a turnover rate of 30%, the childcare industry struggles to find quality staff and retain them. But, having consistency in the classroom is essential to keep both parents and children happy. We've got `12 helpful strategies so you can source fantastic talent and retain them for years to come.
Six Tips for Finding Great Preschool Teachers
These tips can help you find the talent you need to set your school apart.
- List your jobs on boards like Indeed and be specific in your description. Post an ad on Include perks, benefits, and salary to ensure you're not wasting your time or theirs.
- Network with other owners and directors. They may have great candidates that they've passed on that might be a good fit for you.
- Reach out to local universities. They're a great resource for finding talent that will be graduating soon.
- Pay above industry standard. Nobody becomes a preschool teacher to get rich but paying above industry standard -- even if it's by just a little bit -- will attract higher quality talent.
- Set up a vetting process that everyone must go through. Besides the standard background checks that are required, your internal process should be vigorous, and you should hire primarily on attitude. Always check references and trust your gut.
- Hire slow and fire fast. Give yourself time to find the right candidate for your preschool and if they're not working out, don't be afraid to let them go quickly. Parents will appreciate you severing tie with someone who's not a good fit.
Six Tips for Retaining Great Preschool Teachers
In an industry with relatively low pay and little upward mobility, owners and directors must have plans in place to motivate and retain staff. These tips can help.
- Provide good benefits. Health insurance, discounted child care, paid maternity leave, and above average vacation time are all benefits that can help you retain great staff. You may think this is cost prohibitive, but it actually costs more to attract and train new staff (plus you always run the risk of losing families when there's turnover) than to invest in benefits.
- Communication is a two-way street. You should be providing periodic formal and informal feedback to your employees and must include both positive feedback and constructive criticism. Have an open-door policy, as well as an anonymous channel for feedback and suggestions, and respond to every piece of feedback you receive.
- Performance reviews should be done a minimum of twice a year, with an annual review tied to compensation and bonuses. If you're providing continuous feedback the contents of a performance review should never be a surprise. Set attainable short- and long-term goals for your staff and reevaluate those goals as necessary.
- Set staff up for success. Have a formal training and onboarding process, ensure everyone has the materials and time they need to handle students, the curriculum, and do lesson planning, if required.
- Recognize staff both internally and externally. Employee of the Month can lead to unhealthy competition and resentment. You need your staff working as a team, so there are other ways of acknowledging their achievements. A simple conversation letting a teacher know you saw her (or him) go above and beyond and that you appreciate it lets your employees know that you value them. A shout out in a parent newsletter reinforces that and reminds the families at your school that you've got the best staff.
- Seriously consider and implement staff suggestions. While not every request will be possible, your employees are on the front lines with both children and parents and often know what's needed.
Your teachers are the ones interacting with children on a daily basis. Finding and retaining great staff will ensure the families at your school are happy and spread the word about your program.