It can be difficult to find qualified employees for your child care center, and it can be even more challenging to keep them on staff. Your teachers and staff members are integral to your center’s success, and they’re worth keeping around! Here are eight staff retention strategies that will help you keep your best people on board.

Offer competitive salaries and benefits

When it comes to staff retention, money talks. Make sure your employees know that you value them by offering competitive salaries and benefits, which may include paid time off, health insurance, retirement plans, and more.

Show appreciation for hard work

Your staff works hard every day caring for children. Let your employees know how much you appreciate their efforts. Showing appreciation can go a long way when it comes to retaining great employees. Take time to thank staff members for coming in on a snow day, give them a pat on the back for a job well done, and send staff appreciation cards as tokens of your appreciation throughout the year.

Create opportunities for staff to grow and learn

Offering opportunities for growth and education shows that you value professional development and career advancement. It also gives your employees something to look forward to while working at your center, which is an important component of staff retention! Employees who feel like they are being given opportunities for improvement will be happier working at your center, knowing that they are able to enrich their skills.

Promote from within whenever possible

When you have staff members who work hard, perform consistently well over time, and show career potential within your organization, promote them! Offering staff members opportunities to advance their careers is likely to help them stay motivated, remain accountable, and feel appreciated.

Maintain staff-to-student ratios according to state licensing requirements

The adult-to-child ratio is an important part of staff retention for any center, large or small. Keeping adult-to-child ratios at appropriate levels ensures that children are receiving adequate care while also meeting the needs of your staff members by allowing them time away from direct child care responsibilities when needed (and ensuring they’re getting paid for it!). Be sure to adhere to all child care licensing rules when it comes to adult-to-child ratios, which will help you avoid staff turnover due to low salaries or workload difficulties.

Provide flexible work scheduling options

The majority of your staff members might actually be parents themselves. It’s key that you understand that their own children will come first, and therefore offer employees adequate time off for their own child care needs. This might pose difficulties at staff meetings, but it’s important to find creative ways to help your staff members who have childcare responsibilities attend staff meetings or other staff-only events when possible.

Enforce policies consistently

Policies and procedures are incredibly important at any child care center, regardless of whether they apply to staff members or children. Be sure you enforce policies consistently across your entire staff. Implement appropriate disciplinary actions if necessary (with due process and documentation). If you treat staff members differently on a case-by-case basis, this can only lead to trouble.  Maintaining high and consistent standards for all employees will result in  retaining employees with higher morale, who are more likely to stick around.

Be mindful of staff burnout

Your staff members are human, be mindful of staff burnout. Staff retention can be difficult, especially with the high staff turnover rates in the child care industry (approximately 20%, according to Child Care Aware). When employees feel like they’re spinning their wheels or doing the same thing day-in and day-out, this can lead to increased boredom and staff attrition.

The best way to avoid staff burnout is by offering opportunities for growth within your organization. Whether you offer paid time off for continuing education courses, paid volunteer days for community service work, or opportunities to shadow other staff members on a different shift once in a while, it’s a good idea to find ways to help your employees find ways to learn and grow.

Staff retention is an important factor for the success of any child care center, and it’s one of the main ways centers keep their doors open. By following these eight staff retention strategies, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your staff members happy, engaged, and motivated, which can lead to a more successful center overall!

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