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Marissa Schneggenburger

How to Increase Staff Retention Rates at Your Childcare Center

  • November 3, 2020

Hiring staff that fit your childcare center’s values, cultures, and ideas can be difficult, but retaining quality hires can be even harder. Employee retention is crucial, especially during this time, to avoid unnecessary costs, lower productivity, and a cultural impact. Investing in employee retention yields greater results such as increased performance and productivity, higher employee morale, and improved quality of work. Overall, focusing on employee retention saves time, money, and results in a staff that is motivated and focused on improving your childcare center. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the average turnover rate in the U.S. is about 12-15 percent annually. By identifying where your center can improve its retention strategies, you can maintain quality employees and a positive work environment. In this post, we’ll outline seven practical ways to increase staff retention rates. 

1. Assess Your Current Hiring Process

The easiest way to prevent employee turnover is by hiring the right staff from the beginning. When was the last time you reviewed or improved your current hiring process? By refining this process, you can identify candidates that will fit what your center needs in a staff member. 

To start, tailor your job advert to the role you’re looking to hire. Put in as much detail as possible on what the role will entail to ensure you’re attracting the right people.

Next, outline your pre-screening questions. What information do you need to know before a candidate walks through the door? This could be as simple as a resume and contact information. If a candidate seems like they could be a good fit, the next step would be to set up a phone interview. During this interview, questions like “Tell me about yourself.” or “What do you know about our organization?” can help you decide if you would like to move forward with the candidate. 

Before conducting an in-person interview you should create a list of core questions to ask each candidate. These should expand off of those already asked in the phone interview and go into more detail about the candidate, the role, and your organization. Make sure you go into the interview prepared. Familiarize yourself with their CV and cover letter as well as their answers to the pre-screening questions. This will set you and your candidate up for success and ensure a smooth interview process. 

2. Improve Your Onboarding Process

Once a candidate accepts the job offer, it’s important to welcome them to your center with a well-outlined onboarding process. 

First, make sure you connect with your new hire before their first day. Give them any important information they might need, let them know what to expect, and make sure they feel welcomed. You can even send over paperwork they’ll need to fill out to make their first day less overwhelming. Once their first day arrives, give them a warm welcome by introducing them to other staff members. If possible, host a luncheon or meet-and-greet so they can get familiar with them. 

Schedule some one-on-one time throughout the day to see how your new hire’s day is going and to answer any questions they may have. Additionally, make sure you have one-on-one meetings scheduled on a weekly or monthly cadence for the near future to make sure they’re adjusting well. 

To help with the stress and learning curve that comes with a new hire, outline an onboarding plan with a distinct timeline. This should cover everything that your new hire goes through from their first day up until their one-year mark, from training to responsibilities and skills learned. Go over this timeline with them and discuss future opportunities for advancement. This will let your new hires know you care about them as an employee and are invested in making them a part of your team.  

3. Offer or Restructure a Benefits Plan

Benefits can play a large role in employee retention. This includes everything from health insurance and 401k options to paid sick and family leave. While these can be big financial decisions for your company to make, investing in your employees will pay off in the end. 

To create a benefits package that works well for your employees, understand what’s most important to them. Ask for feedback to understand which areas need to take priority and where you should focus funds. Creating a solid benefits plan is an ongoing process so keep the conversation going to figure out what works best for you and your staff. 

4. Take Advantage of Technology

To make everyday tasks easier for your employees, try implementing technology. At your childcare center, using software can save you and your staff hours each week. Software, like Kangarootime, will allow your staff to record digital daily notes, manage their classroom, communicate with parents, perform health checks, and conduct contactless check-ins and check-outs. This saves your staff time so they can put more of their focus back on the children. 

Software can also be used to manage your staff easier through scheduling, payroll, and time-off requests. By having these systems all in one place, your childcare center will be a better and more efficient place to work. 

5. Develop and Stand By Your Core Values and Mission

Having a great company culture can lead to a higher retention rate among your staff. One way to improve your culture is by creating and standing by your values and mission statement. Not only will this help you attract the right candidates, but it will also set the tone for how your employees should act and present themselves. 

These core values should serve as a blueprint for what your center stands for. As an example, Kangarootime’s core values involve kindness, thoughtfulness, resilience, relentlessness, and integrity. Through these values, our staff knows what to focus on 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. Based on these values, make a conscious effort to stick to them and promote them through everyday acts of kindness, community service, team meetings, etc. 

6. Recognize Employee Success 

Employee recognition 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. 

Another way to show your staff how much you appreciate them is by participating in events like Teacher Appreciation Week and World Teacher’s Day. These dedicated days are the time to recognize all of your staff’s hard work and come together as a center. 

Don’t forget to celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and other holidays with your staff as well. These are key in forming close relationships and a supportive work culture. 

7. Organize Team Building Activities

Take some time to relax and have fun with your staff. Participating in team building activities can be a way to have fun, bond with each other, and build trust. From escape rooms to company retreats, there’s so many opportunities your center can partake in. 

Check out this list for tons of activities you can do with your team. If you’re looking for safe and socially-distanced activities, try out these virtual team building activities instead. 

Taking the time to plan a fun activity will go a long way with your team. Getting to know and interact with each other outside of work can translate to more positive relationships inside your center.

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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