Child care is among the most important work, and child care providers can affect children's social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Yet child care has traditionally been a low-paid, low-respect job. Thus it's no surprise that in the demanding environment of child care, employees tend to leave, particularly if they feel they're treated poorly or not sufficiently respected. By providing child care providers with incentives, however, you can dramatically decrease turnover and increase job satisfaction and skill.
Compensation is one of the most important factors in employee loyalty. An employee who feels she's getting a raw deal may take a job and jump ship as soon as a better offer comes along. The wages you offer your employees need to be competitive within industry standards, and should also be scaled to the credentials of the individual employee. A worker who has a degree in early childhood education and 10 years of experience should get a salary that reflects these valuable assets. Giving your employees an annual raise is an especially effective way to encourage loyalty.
There's no denying that continuing education benefits child care workers. Whether it's learning about infant CPR, brushing up on developmental psychology or completing a college degree, a well-educated staff is a highly qualified staff. Give your employees incentives by paying for continuing education, by matching their payments or offering discounts. Employees who know that their qualifications are valued are much more likely to stay on board.
The working environment you provide to your employees can encourage them to stay or send them running at the first opportunity. Avoid a dictatorial management style, and allow employees as much freedom to schedule their days and activities as possible. Give positive feedback and support, and encourage employees to come to you if there is a problem. Child care work can be extremely stressful, and taking the time to thank your employees and treat them as valued colleagues can make the job worthwhile.
Childcare workers often have children of their own, and may need flexible schedules. Allow your employees to adopt novel schedules when possible, and give them paid sick and vacation leave. Employees who feel that their jobs don't interfere with their ability to live their lives are much more likely to stay.