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Marissa Schneggenburger

Hiring and Retaining Staff at Your Childcare Center

  • July 6, 2021

Many childcare centers are currently struggling to hire and retain staff members. A lack of applicants, candidates not showing up to interviews, and low-quality employees, are just a few of the issues providers have faced. 

Beyond hiring is the issue of getting staff members to stay at your center. Higher turnover rates and a competitive workforce have led to lower retention rates at many childcare centers across the country. Quality childcare staff can help your center grow and thrive. This starts by fostering a great company culture and bringing on staff members who are excited to show up to work and care for children each day.

By redefining your hiring process and improving operations, you can begin hiring and retaining staff members at your childcare center. 

Hiring Quality Childcare Center Staff

Get creative with your hiring process in order to attract and keep the right candidates. These tips can help separate you from the competition and widen your candidate pool. By utilizing these tips, you’re one step closer to finding the best employees for your childcare center. 

Create In-Depth Job Descriptions

Creating your job descriptions is one of the first steps in your hiring process and the first way many candidates will hear about your center. Make sure these job descriptions clearly outline daily responsibilities while showcasing the benefits of working at your center. For more information on job descriptions and what to include, learn more in our hiring guide here. 

Redefine Your Hiring Process

Set yourself up for success and revamp your hiring process in order to attract and hire quality candidates. If your hiring process doesn’t currently incorporate the following, consider adding them into your procedures. 

  • Set up an email drip campaign to continue following up with candidates
  • Host a call-back night for new applicants and previous employees
  • Host group interviews for multiple candidates at once or consider hosting a hiring night event to invite candidates to your center to interview in person and meet your staff
  • Have the first interview on the phone if you’re facing the problem of candidates not attending interviews
  • Send reminders before interviews
  • Involve current employees in the process by allowing them to provide feedback on their hiring and onboarding processes 

Get Your Job Postings Seen

Make sure your job listings are seen by your ideal candidates. Posting on social media, job sites, Facebook groups, and more can help you reach a wide audience. Consider posting your job listings in the following places:

  • Local Facebook groups (parents, communities, jobs)
  • Job sites (Indeed, LinkedIn, Care.com, Monster, Glassdoor, etc.
  • Physical “Hiring” signs outside your center
  • Center website
  • Family newsletter

Make it Easy for Candidates to Apply

Removing barriers can help widen your candidate pool. There’s a multitude of ways to make it easier for candidates to apply. Keep in mind that this might increase the amount of applicants you have but decrease the quality of your applicants. If you’re looking to increase your number of candidates, try making it easier for them to apply by:

  • Having multiple application and lead forms on your website
  • Minimize your required fields on your applications
  • Lower job requirements (this could be removing the requirement of a 2 or 4-year degree or number of CDA credits)  

Ask for Referrals

What better way to find quality candidates than asking your current staff for recommendations from within their network? Ask your current employees and families for referrals. Providing an incentive such as a monetary bonus or tuition discount can help aid in this. You can even offer smaller incentives like $10 gift cards if the candidate is brought in for an interview to encourage more referrals. Additionally, referred employees will have more trust in your center due to their personal connections. Referrals are a great way to find quality staff members. 

How to Retain Childcare Employees

Once you hire your new staff members, you’re faced with the task of keeping them happy and employed at your center. Higher turnover rates among childcare staff nationwide have made this more difficult over the years. With these tips and tricks, you can help ensure you’re creating a positive working environment at your center by keeping and attracting the best employees.

Improve Onboarding and Training

Revamp your training materials for clarity and accessibility. Outline your expectations and provide plenty of support and guidance for new staff members. Do something special to make them feel welcome like providing small gifts on their first day, introducing them to each coworker, hosting a luncheon, etc. Assigning them a mentor or current employee to shadow can help integrate them into your center easily and effortlessly. 

Restructure Your Benefits

Employees are looking for centers that offer the best incentives and bonuses. Try offering a contingent sign-on or referral bonus for new and current staff members. For example, you could offer a $500 bonus to employees once they reach 90 days at your center. You can also offer a referral bonus to any current employee who brings in a new hire once that hire has worked for a specific amount of time. Another example of a contingent bonus would be offering a monetary bonus to both a current and referred employee each month they both work there. Through that, each employee has an incentive to stay at your center and encourage other employees to stay as well. 

Offer Helpful Tools and Technology

Using a tool like a CCMS can help make your employees’ jobs easier. For example, through Kangarootime, staff members can save hours each week through digital daily notes, attendance tracking, easy communication with parents, health checks, and more. Administrators can also save time and increase efficiency by automating billing and invoicing processes, managing staff, supervising subsidy payments, and more. 

Create Your Brand, Mission, and Vision

In order to foster a great company culture, outline what your center’s mission and values are. These core values should serve as a blueprint for what your center stands for. As an example, Kangarootime’s core values are: kindness, thoughtfulness, resilience, relentlessness, and integrity. Through these values, our staff knows what our company focus is and what to carry out every day. Understand what is most important to you and your center, and outline the values that mean the most along with the goal of your center. Based on these values and your mission, make a conscious effort to stick to them and promote them through everyday acts of kindness, community service, team meetings, etc. 

Recognize Success and Show Appreciation

Recognizing employee success is a key part of improving staff retention rates. The more your staff feels valued and supported, the more positive your work environment becomes. Recognize your employees’ accomplishments through a teacher appreciation board or employee of the month program. This public display of recognition not only makes your highlighted staff feel valued but also encourages your other staff members to perform well.

For further information on increasing staff retention rates at your center, click here.

Kangarootime is the leading all-in-one childcare management software for daycares and preschools. With billing and invoicing capabilities, parent communication and staff management tools and classroom automation, Kangarootime helps childcare centers grow and scale. To learn more about optimizing your center with Kangarootime, visit kangarootime.com

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