Imagine this: You’re pulling a large block of cement up a hill. It’s heavy, but there’s progress because you’re with a team that has experience and a successful track record in transferring blocks of cement up a hill. You’ve found your groove and you’ve also found the perfect technique to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
But then, three out of ten people from your team suddenly disappear.
That’s what happens in the early childhood education industry! Did you know that our industry has a 30-40% turnover rate?
There are a lot of factors that factor into the high turnover rate in the industry. There are the issues of pay, lack of support and sense of belonging, and enormous workload, to name a few.
It affects not only the school, but also your students and their development. Consistency is important, especially for young kids.
Hire & Retain Your Ideal Employees With a Solid Hiring and Onboarding Process
Hiring and onboarding can be a difficult and long process but when done correctly and with thoughtfulness, it can save you a lot of time and resources in the long run. Keeping employees happy and fulfilled is much easier than hiring and training new hires over and over again.
There are two parts to this: 1) creating your ideal employee and 2) marketing. Similar to other businesses, you have to craft your target audience to determine what approach works the best.
Take a look at your best employee and the employees who’ve stayed with you the longest. Scan their qualities like their dependability, educational attainment, and work demeanor, and then craft your ideal employee “avatar” from that.
Next stop is marketing. Your online presence reflects much about your company’s reliability and credibility. Invest in optimizing your website to be attractive, readable, and showcase your school’s achievements and employee benefits. Create a social media plan that reaches both your primary (parents) and secondary (potential employees) clients. Make it fun, relevant, and easily digestible on whichever social media platform you choose to invest in.
Job postings must not only be specific, but also creative. Read back to what your ideal employee candidate is. Think of the way they talk and engage with content then write down your job posting with that voice and tone in mind. This way, you can already filter out candidates that you don’t think will fit in your workplace environment.
Make sure you have the parts of your job post down:
- Title. Make it catchy and targeted to the people you want to hire. (Ex.”Do you want to make a difference?”)
- Description. Provide a clear and concise summary of what the job entails.
- Qualifications. This section includes training requirements, certifications, degrees, etc. relevant to the field of early care and education. If you’re hiring outside our industry, your candidates may not meet the educational qualifications. In that case, ask for their work history and professional experiences.
- Benefits. Make your school shine! Highlight the benefits and programs you provide your employees to entice applicants to apply.
Interviews allow you to further determine an applicant’s suitability for the position and for the work culture. Regardless of their qualifications, if they’re not upbeat, energetic, well-spoken, positive, professional, and optimistic during your interview, do you really think they will exhibit those qualities when they are exhausted and caring for a room full of cranky toddlers?
Start the interview by giving preface to your school’s background and achievements. Remember, in the same way you’re choosing your new employee, they’re also choosing who their next employer will be. Keep an eye on their non-verbal cues and ask questions that can reveal whether they have a fixed or growth mindset.
You want an employee who’s eager to learn and grow with you.
Once you’ve chosen a candidate to join your school, make sure to clearly outline the details of the hiring process and contract. Take it a step further and create procedure sheets for each step of the hiring process. This may look like additional work, but it will definitely make it easier for you in the future.
It will clarify what’s needed from your new hire and provide a clear timeline for when it’s needed and why. Aside from this, keep your lines of communication open for any questions and concerns.
Onboarding is very important, as one of the leading reasons why people resign is the lack of support from the school administration. According to research, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70% (Chauhan & Jain, 2018).
So, put your best foot forward by:
- Sending a welcome mail signed by the whole team.
- Keeping an open line of communication and providing reminders for the first few important events.
- Touring them around campus and helping them settle in.
- Introducing them to the staff and creating a comfortable atmosphere.
- Providing a small “welcome package” to boost morale.
How many orientations have you attended that bore you to tears?
Avoid doing the same thing to your new hires! When doing an orientation presentation, don’t just copy paste from your school’s handbook. Make it engaging and easy to understand with photos, videos, and charts, if needed.
For example, have a break every hour or 30 minutes and plan an interactive activity. Put in videos of your school’s activities in between discussions about school policies. There’s much you can do to spice it up.
Lack of training is also one of the biggest reasons why teachers leave. To avoid this, prepare a training plan for your new hires. You could loop in your senior teachers and ask them to mentor the new hires and show them the ropes within the school’s system.
Provide resources and chances to attend seminars or refresher courses to further develop not only your new employee but also the ones that have stayed with you for a long time.
Retention is all about support and culture. Your support shouldn’t just last for their first three months with you. It has to be consistent and intentional. Working with kids is not an easy job but with a support system, it can still be fulfilling and fun.
Celebrate your employees’ milestones with them: birthdays, weddings, certifications, and the like. Always check-in when having a meeting. Make a Friday tradition with pizzas and some off-work socialization.
Again, it comes down to consistency and intentionality.
Build & Retain Your Ideal Team With Better Hiring and Onboarding Systems
Revamping your hiring and onboarding systems can be a long arduous process but it’s definitely worth the work. With targeted hiring, you can easily pick out the best person that will fit the job and the culture you plan to build and protect. And with great onboarding and support systems in place, you can make sure that they stay and better your school — and your students.
At Impact Early Education, we know your work is never done. That’s why we provide valuable professional development courses for preschool teachers, directors, and owners in a way that works for you. To learn more, explore our courses or contact us today!