By now I’m sure you know that I’m all about nurturing my team to become the best rockstars they can be and that your childcare business deserves. It’s important to keep working with them and developing them so that your business can grow. And to do that, we must supercharge our staff with their training!
So what does training your staff look like at the moment? Are you offering as much professional development as possible to challenge and hone your team? Are you ensuring that your childcare business is ready for a spot-check inspection?
I’m going to give you some ideas for how to make training less of a burden to both you and your team.
Organize your training
In order to make sure all your staff receive the training they’re supposed to, you’ve got to have systems in place. If you don’t someone is going to get missed and that could really cause chaos. By taking some time to plan out all your training sessions and have a tracking system in place, you won’t have to have a mad rush to get someone’s training done if there’s suddenly an inspection.
You can keep a paper tracker, or use an online system that you update or send out to staff when they’ve completed their training. Knowing who has got what in terms of staff training will really help you with planning for professional development opportunities for the following year. There’s always gaps in knowledge that need attending to! And in our industry, there are constantly new initiatives and resources to learn about.
Keep staff training simple
This one isn’t just about simplifying things so that you can keep on top of where everyone is at in terms of training…it’s just as important that you simplify things for your team members as well.
Instead of expecting your team to travel to training or stay late after their shift finishes, you can make their lives simpler by booking online options. This way, you’re both free of any obligation to book transportation or accommodation, and they can complete the training in their own home at their leisure.
Doing training virtually will not only simplify things, it’s going to help your budget and your stress levels! It’s much easier to keep track of who’s attended what and you can do so many different trainings online nowadays!
In the past, it used to be really difficult to find good quality, state recognized virtual training programs. But things have moved on so much! Especially in the last year. However, even before Covid-19 took center stage, many states were offering digital versions of trainings and they made the opportunities for learning more flexible and accessible. So now you can get trained by experts without being physically present and even from the comfort of your own home.
If you do find some excellent training courses online, double check it is eligible for your state requirements. Here in PA we’re still required to do our CPR training in person but there are lots we can do virtually. Luckily, there are now a lot of other online trainings that you can get that are taken into account by inspectors, where they didn’t used to. So make the most of this new revelation and train up your team!
Budgeting for training
When you’re booking in training sessions for your team, try and look for the best value. That doesn’t always mean the least expensive! It’s about getting a balance. The price has to fit, but what are you getting for your dollars? It’s all very well having some cheap online training, but what if it isn’t recognized by your state authorities? That’d be a waste of money. So ensure that you do your research.
I’ve written about budgeting before, and how starting a childcare business doesn’t have to break the bank. Read more about that here.
You must make sure you plan staff training into your annual budget. It’s a must, and you’ve got to keep on top of the game to grow your childcare business. Nobody wants to send their kids to a daycare where the staff are haphazardly trained and where learning isn’t valued. And we’re all learners in childcare aren’t we?! It’s how we stay young and agile!
Train your staff to be childcare rockstars!
I hope this has shown you how to lead your team to become the rock stars they’ve always meant to be! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tactics to share. I’m always keen to develop my leadership skills and continue my own Childcare Ninja journey!
Before you go, have you found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are 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! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!
This week I’m zoning in on why it’s super important for you as a childcare business owner to “know thy staff”. You might think you know them a little already – because you hired them – right? But how well do you really know them? And what do you do to ensure you’re getting the very best out of every single member of your team?
Over the many years that I’ve been running and growing my daycare centers, I am constantly learning that it is a vital part of my role as a business owner. I need to be appreciating the variety of my team members’ backgrounds and embracing all their quirks! Celebrating their unique approach to their work, and supporting them where they need to up their game.
None of this is easy, but I highly recommend taking more notice of your staff. Get to know them and help them flourish! I’m going to explain a bit more about why you need to do this to grow your business, but also how you can do this!
One size doesn’t fit all
When you carry out your interviews for team members, I bet that you look for specific skills, don’t you? You’re not looking for a cookie-cutter childcare worker. You’re hoping to find the team member with the abilities your team are currently missing. So what happens once you’ve found that person? Do you hire them and expect them to be like everyone else?
I implore you to take a look at the staff you’ve recently employed. What training have you offered them? Was it generic training – a one size fits all approach – or did you tailor it to suit their individual needs? This would be a great opportunity to do a skills audit and find out where the gaps are. Professional development is only useful and worth the time and money if there’s learning taking place!
(I just want to point out that it’s funny really, because – as childcare and education specialists – we pride ourselves on our ability to differentiate the learning for the babies in our care…but when it comes to our staff, we rarely do the same. Interesting to note, isn’t it? We should be paving the way for other industries, not doing what they all do!)
All walks of life
I bet that your team are as varied as the plants in your local park! Have you taken time to truly appreciate their backgrounds and unique experiences? Perhaps you could look back over their applications and resumes, or have an informal chat with each team member to figure out how best you can accommodate their needs and demonstrate an appreciation of their individual pathways into childcare.
Get to know your staff and really show them that variety is the spice of life and that you embrace it all! Be inclusive and ensure everyone feels welcome and supported in their journey with you in your business. Valuing your team members for where they’ve come from shows that you truly care about them, and those things shine through to families interested in your services.
Know thy staff to help them
Once you’ve made an effort to get to know your staff you can then help them more. This could be in the simplest form of training opportunities. For example, if you have staff that also happen to be parents, you might want to consider ways you can help them in order that they can be both brilliant parents but also a superstar childcare practitioner in your daycare. What adjustments can you make to help them, which in turn will help you.
Something simple and easily achieved is that you could look into putting all your trainings online. By creating digital training videos, you are saying to those team members with kids (or other caring responsibilities) that you appreciate that they’ve got priorities outside your facility, and that you care, but that you also want to help them grow their skill set. And by making things easier for them to access from home, you’re signalling this to them! They can watch at home, but still ask questions via an app like Slack to clarify things. It truly is the little things that make a difference.
So get to know them, take time to observe them. Be open and flexible. You want them to do their job better, but they won’t get there if you don’t notice what they need first.
Tools for getting the best from your staff
When it comes to enabling your team to their best, there’s three things that immediately pop into my head.
- The directions and instruction they need to get the job done. This is where your leadership matters. Steering your team along the right path, but knowing when to back off and let them shine. Trust is a huge factor here too.
- The physical resources that they need to perform their role well. For example, something as simple as crayons or curriculum sheets, or perhaps iPads for recording observations and notes, or play equipment.
- The soul – how you relate to your teams. Build a reciprocal and valuable relationship with staff.
This third point matters a lot. Because the way we deliver criticism is important. This in itself is a really useful tool. And just like any tool from your garage, you need to utilize it in a way that will get the job done well!
So, when you’re offering a critique, do it in a useful and constructive way so that they can learn from their mistakes. For example, I would point out something they’ve done well first, before highlighting something that needs work. And then cushion the blow with another positive. So you’ve given them a learning point but haven’t totally demoralized them in the process.
You want them to come away from your correction feeling like they understand the point you’re making. It’s all about encouraging and making learning a positive experience – just like we do with the kids, right?! Staff should be able to receive your critique and feel empowered to move forward, not like they should pack up their things and leave.
Finally, by knowing your staff really well, you can really support them in their journey to becoming the rock stars they’re destined to be in your childcare business! And a rock star team = customers who rave about your business! And that’s what we’re all aiming for, right?! When you know thy staff, you can grow your business into the successful vision you know it can be.
I hope you’ve found this blog super helpful. If you have, share it with a friend!
Also, if you liked this, I wonder whether you’ve found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? 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! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!
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!