Nine-to-five hardly begins to describe your average child care centre. Every day, as soon as the doors open, a packed roster greets you. Sign-ins need to be monitored, children’s meals and activities organised, curriculum set. And just when you want to catch a break, day-to-day administration and parent payments rear their heads.
Child care is no child’s play; it is hard work. Is it any wonder then that high staff turnover is a serious problem? Queensland University of Technology, in a nationwide survey of 1,200 childcare workers, found that one-in-five intended to leave in the next 12 months. A recent survey by Smart Fees found that nearly a third of the respondents said their work-life balance has suffered because of administration tasks. While keeping on top of regulatory requirements, finances and chasing late fees is super-important, what it also does is reduce your staff productivity.
Thankfully, there are few things you can do to help your staff balance their work and personal life better.
Having a proper induction gets your staff off to a great start. Along with the practical aspects of setting up employment (contract, pay arrangements, etc.), ensure you communicate the ins and outs of how your childcare operates and what sets your centre apart. Share a policy document and orientation package that covers employment procedures, salary, performance management, occupational health and safety, staff code and philosophy, child protection and supervision and confidentiality and privacy. Organise regular catch-ups with new employees and invest time early on so they fit in with your culture sooner rather than later.
Doing this right at the beginning means your centre has a better chance of running like clockwork even as new employees are being on-boarded. It can also mean the difference between other employees having to spend time on training or lost time because of loss of productivity.
Your staff are the backbone of a successful centre. Encourage them to interact closely with parents. Keep in mind though that each family is different and may require different levels of involvement. Maintaining constant and informal communication with the parents goes a long way towards engendering more trust in your staff and in your centre. Doing so allows parents to see the quality of work your centre puts into their children and in turn, they will be more receptive to the feedback you give.
If it sounds like a lot of work, just wait until you need to propose overhauling processes or putting in place new systems or raising fees. You’ll be glad then that you are on great terms with families.
Technology can offer great time-saving tools for your child care centre. For time-poor child care educators and staff, even freeing up a few hours every day can help them go that extra mile – and giving them greater control over their professional lives.
There are a host of software tools in the market that promise to simplify front- and back-office functions and unlock time savings for your staff. Curbing productivity killers allows child care centres to find the time to do all the important things your business needs.
Some of the tools your childcare centre can consider include: automated check-in for parents and employees, accounting packages and child care management software. These tool offer great ways to integrate the various office functions and unlock time savings for your staff.
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