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Employee Turnover

Almost all child care facilities report that finding and keeping a permanent staff is a problem. Statistics show that more than a third of all child caregivers need to be replaced each year.

Low wages, a lack of benefits, adverse working conditions, little room for career advancement and a lack of appreciation or respect are the most common reasons people give for leaving the field.

While maintaining a competent caring staff is a difficulty most childcare facilities face, there are consequences for the children too.

Just as research continues to document the fact that quality child care produces long lasting benefits (better grades and behavior), additional research is showing that high caregiver turnover has negative effects on children. These effects range from poorer school performance to an inability to form long lasting, trusting attachments to others. The U.S. National Child Care Staffing Study found that children in centers with high staff turnover were less competent in language and social development.

High turnover rates directly affect the overall quality and profitability of a center too. After all, it takes time and money to find and train new employees.

Recruiting Volunteers

The most cost-efficient way to get more help is to enlist the aid of volunteers. Before finding and qualifying volunteers however, it is best to consider exactly what your needs are.

What do you need the volunteer(s) to do? Define the jobs you want them to accomplish. Then determine what qualifications they should have and the hours you'll need them.

Think about your business broadly. Beyond childcare duties, could you use a retired accountant looking to round out his retirement with a bit of volunteering? What about a carpenter? A musician, plumber, electrician, etc.?

Next you'll have to recruit the volunteers. You'll need to create an inviting recruitment message to encourage people to become involved with your school. Your message should include the specific need the position will fill, how the volunteer will fill the need and the benefits to the volunteer.

There are many ways to go about recruiting volunteers. Susan J. Ellis, author of The Volunteer Recruitment Book suggests you make a list of everything you see in your immediate vicinity. This includes stores, churches, apartment buildings, schools, businesses, etc. Each of these is a potential source of volunteers.

Next, analyze your list to see what businesses, schools, stores, etc. may be a likely source of volunteers or even supplies. Determine if there are any students or seniors with available daytime hours. See if there are any professionals such as consultants, artists, accountants, and others with useful and valuable talents who may be be able to donate their time. Perhaps some may be able to donate goods or materials.

How to Keep Great Teachers and Care Givers

Every successful child care center owes its success to those who care for and teach the children every day. Great teachers and care givers are not easily come by and harder to retain.

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will aid you in keeping great people.

When people are respected, treated fairly, and rewarded for hard work, they develop loyalty.

The opposite of this is also true.

Situations are sure to arise where you and your teacher(s) will need to discuss solutions or options. Always remember to keep these conversations private and that negativity never helps accomplish anything good. Not every day is pleasant, not for you and not for them, but if you respond with positive, encouraging words and actions success will ensue.

Making Staff Meetings More Effective

Whether you conduct set meetings at specific times or more informal gatherings as the need arises, it is always helpful to have a set agenda for any staff meeting. Be specific as to what the meeting is about and what you want to accomplish. Whether the meeting is for training or problem solving, information and opinion sharing, building morale and fostering teamwork, or any other matter, let your staff know what to expect.

This sets the tone, keeps you on task and allows your staff to come to the meeting mentally prepared.

Meetings are best scheduled during a time when people are at ease. The most ineffective meetings are sandwiched hurriedly in between the various demands of the job. Brief meetings can take place at nap or break times, while longer meetings are best scheduled after the children have gone home.

A meeting is the place for group tasks. Some of the tasks best dealt with in meetings are:

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