One of the biggest headaches franchise owners of child care facilities say they face is hiring and retaining quality employees. It’s the “good employees” that parents are seeking just as you are. So, as a franchise owner, you are searching for the person who’s passionate about teaching developing minds, but also has the “patience of job” to deal with the noise and energy of pupils seeking to be “kindergarten ready.”
Education Staff Are Passionate about What They Do…
But while the demand for quality child care is continuing to rise, it is also becoming more and more difficult for these small business owners to retain quality employees. A book entitled By a Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold On to Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers by Marcy Whitebook and Laura Sakai sheds some light into two areas: “Why do people choose to work in child care?” and “Why do these people choose to stay or leave the profession?”
The study was conducted in three phases in 1992, 1996, and 2000 studying 92 child care centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, with 75 facilities participating in all three years.
Unsurprisingly, many of these employees indicated they were, “attracted to child care by the challenge of working with children and the importance they place on their own role in the social and cognitive development of children.”
But Two Main Reasons Reveal Why They Leave
However, the reasons for leaving their child care jobs were low pay and the perceived low professional status. Those employees who had spouses who were the primary household income earners were more likely to remain in child care than those who were solely dependent on the job for financial support.
A key turnover indicator are wages and employee benefits. Child care centers with zero to minimal turnover offered 48.3 percent more in wages and employee benefits than those with turnover of 20 percent or more. While turnover in some industries is acceptable, retaining employees is paramount in educational settings since teacher engagement with young students and parents will directly impact the image of the facility and bottom line of the business.
Strategies to Retain Employees
Wage compensation aside, there are additional strategies for retaining employees at your academy. A 2016 doctoral dissertation entitled “Successful Employee Retention Strategies in Child Care Centers” by Ahmad Shaheen of Walden University suggested the following strategies to retain child care employees:
- Employee Reward Program
- Career Development Program
- Performance-Based Bonus
- Positive Work Environment
- Employee Skills Development
- Open Communications
- Decision Empowerment
Each one of these retention strategies will be covered in subsequent blogs beginning with how to conduct an employee reward program. However, as mentioned in the study, “the strategies that ranked as most effective included those that provided a monetary advantage.”
As a business owner, taking control of the narrative and changing the conversation from pay level to overall compensation using low-cost employee benefits is essential to recruiting and retaining your key staff.