When it comes to hiring new staff, how easy do you find it? Finding the right people for your childcare biz dream team isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like! However, I’ve been in the childcare industry for 15 years now and I’ve got a couple of super simple ideas for you to try out.
Whether you’re just starting to put together your dream team, or honing your hiring process, read on for some simple considerations!
Why creating your dream team matters!
Before we get stuck in, it’s key that you know what you need a team for in the first place. So you run a childcare business, we know! What’s your goal, what are your aims? How can you craft a team that’ll help you achieve those?
Earlier this week, I had a planning session with two of my team members. They’re totally awesome and amazing at what they do! Each member knows the vision, knows their role, and runs with it! Both of them work really well together and put in 100%. And it’s partly because of having a brilliant team that I’ve been as successful as I have been!
Having a well-rounded team who are in sync means that you can know for sure that your childcare biz is in safe hands! There’s a reason that they use the acronym “Team = Together Everyone Achieves More”.
What help do you REALLY need for your childcare biz dream team?
Occasionally we know it’s time for us to get help and begin thinking about new team members. But I’ve noticed that as childcare biz owners, we don’t always take the time we need to consider what we actually want. Often, instead of getting specific support, I’m seeing hires of generic all-rounders who don’t elevate your team to the next level. Mostly this is because the hiring process is rushed but sometimes it’s due to not knowing what you need.
Getting any kind of help takes a decent amount of time to contemplate! You’ve got to look at what’s needed to help create the right team for yourself.
Get specific about what you want and need to create your dream team!
This might sound obvious, but it’s important to have this clear before you start advertising! If we don’t have that clarity on WHO you’re looking for you can find yourself hiring the wrong person, or a good person but for the wrong role.
Do you need someone to work with the kids or is it about support in the admin department? It’s vital to be clear on your vision and goals so you hire the right person for the right job at the right time!
For instance if you already have a good core team working directly with the kids but find you’re getting swamped with the paperwork and books then you would be better off getting an administrative person in to focus on up-levelling there. Perhaps you don’t like the paperwork and you’re finding it drains your energy and you’re not able to move your business forward. If you’re struggling to work on your vision, finding yourself working ‘in” the business rather than ‘on’ the business, then admin may be your first spot to get covered.
Look at where you have gaps in ability and strengths on the team – not vacancies!
Choosing team members wisely
Okay, I want to take a second and explain why you can’t just hire the top of the class from your local college and hope for the best. Just because people get straight As doesn’t mean they’re automatically a good fit for your childcare business. You’ve got to take time looking at other aptitudes and really delve into what your team needs.
You can think beyond academia. For example, who is going to be great at dealing with client concerns? Have you found anybody with skills in crafting or music…? And you want all your hires to be team players.
Check out their references thoroughly too!
Create the kind of team that works well together
This comes down to communication. You have to know who you’re hiring and why, in order to craft a team that shines! And once you’ve hired them, you have to make sure everyone knows what their roles and tasks are.
If your staff can be clear on expectations of them, what they’ll be working on, when, where and who with, you’re less likely to have issues like personality clashes or overlap with 2 people doing the same task by accident.
You can definitely put together the type of team that works well together and does a stellar job. But it also takes good leadership…
A good team has a strong leader
I’m looking at you, Ninja! You’re the leader in this situation and it’s important that you know that. It’s hard. I get it! You’ve got to effectively communicate your mission and get all your team members on board.
Like the coxswain on a rowing boat, you’ve got to give direction, support, motivation and encouragement. Essentially, you’re responsible for steering the boat (childcare biz!) and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers (your team!).
And being a great leader is a skill that takes years to hone. You’ve got to grow! Find out how to be a better childcare boss and grab opportunities to develop your leadership skills. I know it’s totally different working for yourself! And this may be all so new to you, you may just be starting out (or maybe you feel like you’re rusty in this area?!) – I encourage you to be open to learning and growing.
One of the ways you can get support is joining a community of Childcare Ninjas 😉 We’ve got tonnes of resources and another course coming up very soon. If you need help or want to find out more about our support, reach out and let’s chat! I got you, Ninja!
In the meantime, here’s some other posts that can help you put together your childcare biz dream team: this one all about hiring, this one about beating competition in hiring, and this one about getting to know your team!
Sometimes being a Childcare Business owner can feel pretty isolating and massively overwhelming. Getting connected with other childcare owners is a game changer! Gain strategies and tips to move your childcare business forward by joining a community! That’s why I set up my FREE Facebook group, where you can hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners AND get training every other week from me! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!
Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!
This week I’m wading into one of the hardest areas of running a childcare business: the hiring process!
Currently I’m deep in the midst of this tricky operation myself. We’re moving one of my experienced members of the team in an established daycare center to manage my brand new center (yay! It’s all happening! Finally!). So I need to find a new team member for that daycare, but also need a whole new team for the one about to open! Stressed isn’t even the word… So I KNOW how hard this whole process is.
Why is the hiring process so hard?!
From start to finish, the hiring process is FULL ON! You’ve got to advertise vacancies in a way that calls in the right kind of potential employees. Then you’ve got to shortlist the candidates and figure out who’s a good fit before setting up interviews with them.
When you interview, you’ve got to have questions that truly help you decide who will be the best hire for your team. Sometimes I include a challenge or test of some kind to help me see who’s best for the job.
Frankly the entire thing is quite exhausting! And also super expensive! The time, energy and money spent on the hiring process is quite something. But it has got to be done properly, so you can find the right person (or people!).
How to pick your next team member
I’ve already told you I’m up to my neck in hiring at the moment, and you might be wondering “Nyckie, how are you supposed to know whether to hire an “I-can-do-this-in-my-sleep” experienced person or a fresh-outta-the-bag newbie to join your All Star Team?” Well, I know that for most of us the whole hiring palaver can be the ultimate migraine (that’s right not just an ordinary headache), so I’m gonna go ahead and give you some tips!
As always, there are going to be pluses and minuses to every interviewee. There’s no getting away from that. Firstly, you’ve got to have a clear idea of who you need. You want someone who can gel with the rest of the team and slot in where you need them. They’ve got to add value to your team, right?
And it’s important to remember that – once hired – this person is representing YOU. They’ve got to be doing that in the right way. So this stuff really does matter!
The pros and cons of hiring
When it comes to the hiring process, there are so many things that we can discuss but this dilemma of old or new is one that always sparks a great conversation! There’s nothing wrong with some good old fashioned competition, right?!
So, when it comes to hiring your next ALL STAR Team member, I’d love to know: are you aiming to hire an experienced candidate or were you considering a newly qualified one? There are certain positions in your childcare where you definitely need to hire someone experienced who knows their thing – like a room or age group manager/leader. But there’s some flex with other roles.
There are definitely pluses and minuses to each one, so let’s delve in a little deeper to help you make a decision!
Hiring an experienced team member
Most of the time, hiring a more experienced team member can feel like the sensible thing to do. But not everything is always rosy. So let’s take a look at both sides of the coin!
An experienced person will be well-acquainted with the industry, so having to deal with angry parents or a nit-picking inspector will be like water off a ducks back to them. They understand how to talk to parents and explain things clearly. Which means they know the ropes and usually have some initiative, meaning they won’t constantly be needing reminders! Experienced staff don’t require as much training and can therefore cost your business less.
The down-side to hiring someone who is experienced is that they are potentially set in their ways. Occasionally when you have someone like this, who has come from a different way of working, there can be a bit of friction between yourself as the owner and between them and your existing staff. They know how THEY like to do things, and won’t budge on it.
Depending on the person they can be difficult to retrain for your childcare business. They might not like the way you’re doing things as the owner. However, it’s your business…so while you’d be open to feedback, at the end of the day you get to choose how things run, not your staff.
So the best way of steering clear of that situation is to lay out your expectations in the interview, and to find out theirs. If you align, super. If not, show them the door…
What can a newbie offer?
I know some people are swift to dismiss less experienced applications. But I don’t agree: newbies can be great! There’s no way you should write them off at the beginning. There’s something I love about hiring newbies.
Some people get concerned that they don’t have much experience but why not look at that as a clean slate? You can bring them in fresh without the potentially negative impact of any previous experience or habits from another business. No need for unlearning processes that you don’t use! They certainly carry less baggage. I’ve always found fresh staff to be easier to train in how I like things done.
Newbies have an air of excitement about them and are eager to show their willingness to work hard and learn. They tend not to have the same expectations as more experienced staff. They’re keen to please and make progress!
The main minus of a novice is that they’re a bit too excited and they’re not as hardy. So when it comes to tricky situations – like a frustrated parent or a mean inspector, they haven’t got the skillset to cope yet. They’ve no idea how hard the industry can be.
Things you should do with all candidates
Always check out their references. They’ve told you in the interview that they’re a hard worker…the proof is in the pudding! What do their previous employers say?
Use the interview to get to know them. Ask questions that go beyond the daycare. Try and get a feel for their personality because that’ll give you an idea of how they’ll fit in.
After the interviews and before making a decision, I like to check their social media to get another perspective. Don’t get me wrong – I totally understand that it’s not REAL LIFE! But it can open your eyes to what someone might really be like, are they as responsible as they made out? Or it may show you a completely lovely side that they didn’t feel comfortable enough to share or mention in the interview. It can be helpful but only as a fraction of the whole picture.
There are pluses and minuses on both sides whether they’re a newbie or not.
Remember: You want someone who will be a good personality fit for your center!
Go and watch my latest video on the hiring process and how to find the next star for your team! I’d love to know: what’s been your experience with hiring? Do you have a preference?
Join us over on Facebook for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! You can hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners. Or if you prefer Instagram, we share inspiration, ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!
One of the key parts of your childcare business is the people who work for you. The quality of your staff is essential to maintaining a professional and well-run establishment, and most importantly they are taking care of those precious children in your setting.
They’re your representatives and your eyes on the ground, and they’re part of a team, so hiring the right people is a huge decision for your business. You can’t just hire someone based on their résumé, because there’s no guarantee they’ll gel with your other staff members; but nor can you employ a person for their personality and not look at their experience and qualifications. It’s a monumental task! Streamlining this process is going to help you grow your business.
And sometimes it can take up so much of your time, it could almost be a full time job in itself!
But there’s no need for it to be so time consuming. I’ve been in this game for a long time now, so I have learned a few things on the way to becoming a Childcare Ninja, and I want to help you streamline the hiring process.
Here are my ninja tips for a more efficient process for hiring staff for your childcare business.
Automate as much paperwork as possible
Getting your potential employees to fill out an online form will save you time and definitely streamline your hiring process. No more loose bits of paper to peruse, or lose! By having an automated system, you can make the process faster and fairer for everyone.
There are various apps/softwares you can get for each stage of the process. For example, candidate pre-screening tools can rank and grade candidates to pre-qualify those who are a fit to move forward in the hiring process. Or you can just have a simple form, akin to a questionnaire that they can input all their information into.
When the form is filled out online, it means you’ve got a digital version. You can then search the documents for key words much faster, enabling you to rule out people who don’t have the qualifications or strengths you’re looking for, and find the ones who cut the mustard!
Once you’ve shortlisted, it’s time to get them booked in for interview. However, manually scheduling interviews can be exhausting! It might not sound like a time-consuming task, but when you’re going back and forth to check availability for all the different applicants you’d like to meet with you suddenly realize what a drain on your time it is!
I’d highly recommend that you try interview scheduling automation. It’ll save you time and streamlines the interview process, which creates a better experience for candidates and you alike. You might have heard of Calendly, which is an easy to use system for booking in interviews.
Have a central place for your hiring documentation
It’s important that you keep all your paperwork and vital documents for new and potential employees in one place. This is key because if you were to fall ill, then your cover person will know exactly where to find everything they need when it comes to your team. Not only is it for unfortunate scenarios, it’s also fundamental that you’re seen by outside agencies and inspectors to be organized and keeping on top of standards.
Another reason you ought to keep staff documentation all in one central place is it’ll help you find things quickly if there’s any accidents or medical emergencies. Your team members might have an allergy or a disability, and as their employer you have responsibilities for their welfare.
Video training on the go
Create your own training videos for newly hired team members so they can get up to speed quickly. Everyone’s got a smart phone nowadays, and it’s so helpful for building relationships with new staff. Having apps like Slack to connect team members, gives them an opportunity to communicate outside of work and also access information as and when they require it, or when you need them to.
One of the strategies that I’ve found that works for my teams is when I do training on Zoom about specific areas and then I upload the videos and place them in Slack. My staff can then view them when they’re able to – on breaks or during their spare time – and once they’ve watched the training they can sign off that particular task. I can then see exactly who has done which video session, and can remind people gently on the app.
This saves us tons of time trying to coordinate a training meeting that everyone can attend! We’re all busy people, right?!
Streamlining the hiring process is going to save you time and energy, leaving you to focus on getting the right team player for your Childcare Ninja squad!
If you haven’t already, join my free Childcare Ninja Facebook group! We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!