Have you ever heard of Ray Kroc? He’s the guy who’s famous for joining McDonald’s in the 1950s and turning it into the most successful fast food chain on Earth. Ray knew that the trick to attracting lots of customers would be to sell good quality burgers and fries at a cheaper price than their competition – and the key to selling burgers and fries for a cheap price would be to keep operating costs as low as possible. Even now, McDonald’s is just as famous for its highly efficient internal systems and strict roster management as it is for its quality burgers and fries. Pretty much every business on Earth could benefit from paying attention to the operating system at McDonald’s – including yours.
Just like at McDonald’s, excellent time management and roster management are critical to increasing the productivity and decreasing the staffing costs in your childcare centre. In this article, we outline three practical time saving solutions that you can implement in your childcare centre to reduce your staffing costs while maintaining staff ratios and quality standards at the same time.
Automate your repetitive tasks
You may have already come across this time saving tip in one of our most popular blog articles that’s wholly dedicated to ‘time management tips to stay ahead of the Early Years Learning Framework’. We already know from talking to our childcare clients that you’re probably spending way too much time manually completing repetitive tasks (such as processing parent payments) that could be automated with the right software. Now is the time to get this underway.
Implement a predictable staffing routine
Implementing a predictable staffing routine will go a long way towards helping you to achieve and maintain excellent time management in your childcare centre. Consider developing a few practical tools to help keep your staff on-task at all times so they don’t waste a minute of their valuable ‘hands-on with the children’ time during their shift. For example, you could:
develop a checklist of the top things to do at the beginning of every shift before your staff head onto the childcare centre floor
allocate a set amount of time to complete opening and closing procedures
assign specific tasks to be done during children’s nap time
delegate appropriate tasks to non-reporting administrative staff.
There are also some other very important little people in your centre who will respond favourably to your new predictable staffing routine – the children.
Scale down when numbers are low
We’re certainly not suggesting that you terminate your valuable staff at the first sign of a decrease in numbers – the hidden costs of finding and training new staff every time your numbers increased again would far outweigh any short-term savings to be had from this unsustainable practice! Instead, consider whether you might be able to restructure your staff so that you can create scope for scalability on a day-to-day basis. For example, do your most junior staff members need to be employed on a permanent full-time basis or do you have scope to keep some junior staff on a casual basis so you can scale up and down as needed? That way, you can send your casual staff home on the days your numbers are unexpectedly low to save on your wages costs.