In a recent episode of the “Child Care Conversations” podcast, Kate and Carrie had the pleasure of discussing the topic of hiring staff in the childcare industry. We specifically focused on younger and first-time employees, the importance of job descriptions, and the role of workplace culture in attracting and retaining quality staff.
The Power of Job Descriptions
One of the key points we discussed was the importance of job descriptions in attracting quality staff. We emphasized the need for job postings to highlight the positive aspects of working in child care, such as playing with children, witnessing their milestones, and creating a fun and engaging environment.
Kate shared their experience of rewriting a job description to emphasize the fun and exciting aspects of the job, like playing in a creek and exploring nature with elementary school kids. We criticized job postings that focus on negative aspects, like cleaning up vomit, as it can deter potential candidates. Instead, we suggested discussing such tasks during the interview or orientation process.
We also addressed the misconception that younger generations are lazy and don’t want to work. This perception is based on ageism and it’s important to remember that everyone, regardless of age, wants to have a good work-life balance. We encouraged directors to put effort into creating compelling job descriptions that showcase their company culture and make the job appealing to potential candidates.
Creating Engaging Job Postings
Carrie emphasized the importance of creating an engaging and exciting job posting to attract potential employees. She advised against using generic job descriptions and instead encouraged businesses to showcase their unique culture and the fun aspects of the job.
She compared this approach to the way commercials and TV shows create excitement and make people want to be a part of something. She also mentioned the need to manage expectations by explaining that the job may not be exactly like what candidates imagine based on their previous experiences or perceptions.
The Interview Process
After receiving applications, Carrie recommended an automated system to schedule interviews and suggested virtual interviews as a time-saving option. She emphasized the importance of capturing candidates’ emotions and connections to early childhood through questions about their favorite memories of teachers or childhood activities.
She also advised directors to have these questions prepared and to keep the job description concise and not overwhelming. Carrie suggested that job descriptions should be no more than half a page in 14-point font, highlighting the essential responsibilities such as being able to see and hear children and lift objects.
The Importance of Orientation Day
Kate discussed the importance of orientation day for new hires. She suggested that orientation should be at least eight hours long and should provide new employees with a comprehensive understanding of their role and the program.
She advised against leaving new hires alone in a classroom on their first day, as it may lead to them leaving if there are any conflicts. Instead, she recommended allowing new hires to spend time in different classrooms to assess compatibility with different colleagues.
Understanding the Needs of Younger and First-Time Employees
Kate emphasized the importance of understanding the needs and challenges of younger and first-time employees. She shared a personal experience of working with a college graduate who had previously worked as a waitress in the evenings.
She explained that it’s crucial to consider factors like commute time and rush hour when discussing work schedules with employees. She acknowledged that it may not always come across as friendly, but as a director, it’s important to help employees succeed in their roles.
The Role of Bosses in Employee Success
Carrie and Kate encouraged listeners to reflect on their own experiences with their first bosses and the valuable skills they learned from them. They highlighted the significance of being a boss who supports and guides employees toward success.
Kate mentioned her second boss, who prioritized continuous learning and assigned weekly homework to the staff. She emphasized the role of bosses in teaching employees how to be successful in their roles.
Carrie concluded by emphasizing the importance of teaching employees how to be successful in the hourly economy, especially if they have previously worked in different industries. As bosses, we have the power to shape the experiences of our employees and should strive to be supportive and understanding.
In conclusion, attracting and retaining quality staff in the childcare industry requires a thoughtful approach to job descriptions, an engaging interview process, and a supportive work environment. By considering the needs and challenges of younger and first-time employees, we can create a workplace culture that encourages success and growth.
Want to learn more about these topics? Listen to our podcast episode!