Do you struggle to improve Teacher Retention in your childcare center? You are not alone.
Research conducted by Walden University shows that Teacher Retention has become a significant concern globally. In fact, in the U.S alone, 50% of childcare employees leave their jobs by the close of their fifth year of experience.
A 1989 study by the Child Care Employee Project found that childcare centers’ turnover rose from 15 percent a year in 1977 to 41 percent in 1988 – tripling in just a decade. During that same period, the number of child care centers reporting no turnover among their educators fell from 40 percent to 7 percent.
Childcare professionals believe that teacher retention can affect parents as well. Parents feel happy if their children share a great bond with their teachers. Familiar faces give parents’ confidence to trust their children with your childcare center.
Why retaining your teachers is essential.
- Retaining childcare employees may help the children develop a strong emotional attachment with the teachers, establishing a sense of trust and help them excel in their future lives.
- It improves the quality of childcare center workplaces. In an environment where trust prevails, children will thrive, and teachers will be motivated to contribute effectively.
- Morally – Higher retention rates may help society by decreasing the unemployment rates and creating a stable labor market, which improves the lives of individuals.
- It helps to gain parents and families’ confidence in your childcare center. Overall, you will build a healthy and thriving community.
Childcare professional experts believe that employee retention involves a precise and conscious effort that motivates your employees to stay longer in your firm.
Here are the 6 best practices you can apply to retain your best employees:
1. Offer the right kind of benefits.
According to the research, offering the right benefits is the best way to retain your employees. Health insurance, paid maternity leave, paid sick leave, and discounted child care are some you can implement in your childcare center.
Childcare experts believe that offering benefits to your current employees costs cheaper than hiring and spending on training new employees.
Alessia, the founder of Happy Space Daycare, says – “If you are planning to retain your qualified candidates, then providing benefits to them is worth it in the long run.”
When it comes to providing benefits, offering the right salary tops the list. Data shows – around 67% of teachers leave their job due to low wages.
Teachers involved in early childhood education have more significant responsibilities, and given that they had to spend their maximum amount of time with children, it can be challenging and draining.
Good Salary can often become the motivating factor for teachers: however, teaching is not a profession done solely for money gaining. If your employees are getting good remuneration, it gives them a sense of acknowledgment.
2. Create a strong organizational culture
According to childcare experts, low-turnover agencies have a more positive or constructive organizational culture and climate than high-turnover agencies.
Research shows that if an organization successfully establishes a good culture, it reflects its smooth operation. Ariana, the founder of The Children’s Cloud daycare, says – “We spent a good amount of time and energy on building a strong organizational culture, and that I believe it has helped us to retain our best educators.”
To build a good strategy for your childcare center, you need to access your organization’s culture. What policies and programs you are trying to implement that support your vision for your childcare center.
If every employee shares the same motivation and believes in the core purpose of your organization, it aligns the whole organization in a strong team force. Hiring practices, acknowledgment programs, rewards and recognition programs, and performance management programs are effective ways to establish a strong organizational culture.
3. Support the well-being of teachers in your organization
Research shows that around 55% of teachers feel lonely, 77% feel stressed, and 87% feel uncertain. This can directly affect the quality of education children receive. A stressed teacher can never bring the best of themselves at what they do.
Childcare experts suggest that taking care of your educators is equally crucial to running a thriving childcare center. School leaders should take initiative to promote self-care and mental health awareness for educators.
You can provide wellness programs and policies to give emotional confidence to teachers and a sense of feeling that they matter. You can also introduce self-care strategies and mental health-focused learning to support your educators.
Practice a few of them:
- Educate your staff about the effect of stress and provide opportunities to address issues related to mental health.
- Introduce self-care awareness programs at your childcare center.
- Encourage and develop formal strategies for peer support.
- Introduce a fair culture that promotes a safe environment, appropriate leave policies, adequate benefits, necessary supervision, and supportive resources for educators.
4. Create better ways for teacher engagement
Teacher engagement is of utmost importance to retain your best educators. Creating teacher engagement will help your educators feel competent and motivated to bring their best at work. A better relationship is formed between a teacher and children.
It is also essential because teacher engagement will let teachers recognize their voice in the organization and instill the confidence to take their role with responsibility.
Here are three essential ways to create better teacher engagement:
- Communicate early and frequently. Your organization should be transparent, proactive, and timely to include teachers in vital conversation as valued voices.
- Communicate initiatives and processes clearly. Communications should explicitly outline teacher expectations, project timelines, and dedicated resources that impact teacher-related initiatives.
- Maintain a professional culture. A collaborative, professional culture that promotes mutual respect among all employees should permeate the school working environment.
If your childcare center is a newly opened one, of course, you will need time to focus on such precise planning for teacher engagement. However, prioritizing timely conversations and building a positive, healthy environment where your employees feel listened to will help you move ahead with confidence.
Giving feedback to your employees is yet another essential factor in creating effective engagement with teachers. You can even introduce reward programs like monetary benefits and career growth programs to acknowledge their contributions. It definitely will result in retaining your best employees.
5. Implement professional development opportunities
Reports suggest that company that offers professional development opportunities has 34% higher retention rate than companies who don’t. Such companies achieve to record less turnover rate.
Childcare experts suggest that introducing professional development opportunities ensures your employees’ growth in their roles and perform better, leading to better retention. Numerous research done on the subject shows it helps to:
- Inspire your employees to take action to improve their skills and talents
- It creates an opportunity to nurture positive relationships among employees.
- Competition is replaced by collaboration
- Employees strive to perform better.
Michael from HiMama says – “You can create training programs and mentorship programs for teachers to upskill their talents.” He further suggests pairing your junior employee with senior employees will help the former learn effectively, whereas the senior employee will learn leadership skills during the period.
Google even goes extreme by offering and encouraging employees to spend one hour daily from their working time on their dream projects.
Vishen Lakhiani, the author and founder of Mindvalley, in his book – ‘The Code of The Extraordinary Mind’ mentions how he has introduced a culture in his company where every new employee is asked to write their dream projects and put them out on the notice board. Vishen, along with other teammates, then try their best to help new employees to achieve their dream projects. No wonder they have the highest employee retention rates and are the fastest ever-growing company in the world.
You, too, can introduce programs and training to help your employees bring their A-game.
6. Create a supportive environment for your employees
Creating a supportive environment for your employees can effectively improve teacher retention in your childcare center. Experts suggest that it will even bring better results than offering financial incentives.
There are various ways you can create a supportive environment for your employees:
- Freedom for innovative thinking
- Better working conditions
- Including teachers’ opinions in important decisions
- Introducing leadership opportunities
- Encouraging transparent communication
- Supervisory arrangements for educators to access workloads
Your childcare center must access the working conditions of the teachers. Encourage conversations that can highlight the issues that they are facing. Teachers are the front runners of your childcare center. Children are secure if teachers feel secure.
Include teachers on important political matters of your organization. It not only allows them to come upfront and share responsibility but gives them a sense of belongingness.
Employee turnover inflicts severe harm to organizations, both financially and psychologically. In the United States, teacher retention has been lower since 1991. Researchers have suggested influencing motivational variables, such as training, challenging and interesting work, introducing an excellent working culture, and offering good remunerations, are essential factors in retention.
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