Quality employees are the key to making your child care center great. Parents look at things like qualifications and number of years employed at the center when making decisions about where to send their child. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find great workers and even harder to keep them at your center.
Rather than putting an ad in the newspaper or on Craigslist, work your network to find great employees. Let staff and parents know that you are looking to hire new teachers or administrative staff. This can give you higher quality candidates, especially if you offer an incentive for referrals. Additionally, if you currently employ part-time workers, tap into that pool before you cast a wider net.
Ask candidates why they want to work for your child care center, and choose people who have specific reasons for preferring your center over those who have general reasons for wanting to work with children. Have they worked at other centers in the past? What did they like and dislike? Rather than asking typical questions about strengths and weaknesses, ask candidates how they would deal with specific problems they might face in the classroom, such as dealing with a child who is being aggressive or helping a child who is shy making new friends. Do they have real-life examples to share?
Take the time to check the candidates’ references and perform thorough background checks. In particular, ask former employers about how long the person stayed with the company. Ideally, you would like to find workers who are going to stick with your center for many years. If the candidate seems to bounce around from job to job, you may want to pass on them. Also, check with state requirements to see what kind of background checks are required for each employee at your child care center. This can vary from state to state.
Give employees a good reason to stick with your company for a long time. A solid benefits package can be a big selling point. Including things like healthcare, paid vacation time, options for retirement savings and discounts on tuition for their own children are all great ways to retain quality employees. Also remember that it is important to offer competitive wages so they don’t feel tempted to keep looking for a position after starting with your child care center.
Ultimately, if you want to attract and retain the best staff members, you need to be a child care center where people want to work. Set up a positive environment that supports employees. Learn more in our Guide to Child Care Staffing here and how to retain the best staff members in our blog post here.