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Creating a Staff Development Framework: That’s Proven To Work!

Outside of a payslip and uniform, how are you investing in your greatest business asset? When it comes to the outworking of your creative ideas and kids' activities, we know that staff are the heartbeat of your programmes. How your staff feel, what they say and how they act, heavily impacts on how a child in your programme feels and what they go home and talk about with their parents. Staff and team culture directly impact your business. So how can you keep staff happy? How can you lead a motivated and purposed team who show up every day with a full cup and lots to give? It can be easy to assume that staff love what they do all the time, and that they should be bringing their best to the job everyday. But assuming that motivation comes hand in hand with pay-day, or that a bring-a-plate morning tea smoothes over the culture gaps that are popping up in the team, is a naive and short-term method to investing in your business. We highlight four different areas that you could investigate to truly dig into some of the systems, processes, and ways of working that actually help to invest in your staff, build a great culture in the team with the ultimate goal of growing your business. Staff Onboarding

The first two weeks in your business set the tone. The learning and training programmes that staff go through when they join your team impress the standard and expectations of how staff should conduct themselves and approach work every day. From small and important details, like showing up in the correct uniform, how to address parents or caregivers when they collect their child, right through to training the correct sign-in/out procedure. All these things must be trained and set right from the start. Ponder the following questions to either start developing a new staff member onboarding process or re-vamp your current one;

What are your company values, new goals and mission statements that support the drive toward your goals?

  • Can you clearly articulate and communicate what your company values and goals are?

  • Does your mission statement still align with your goals?

  • Can you describe how your brand values are outworked day to day in your programmes?

  • If you ask a staff member to link the goals, mission statement or values to an experience they have had recently, would they be able to do it? This is a great indicator that your business is aligned or if you need to dive in and rejuvenate this area.

How are new staff onboarded in the business?

  • Have you documented all the processes that new staff must understand to confidently follow your health and safety guidelines?

  • Have you documented and can communicate the nice-to-have processes that make your business, your business? Ie. how staff uniforms must be worn, your special and unique way of welcoming a new child to the first day of your programme?

  • Do you have different milestones documented that new staff need to demonstrate which shows they understand your guidelines, policies and culture?

When was the last time you updated your onboarding programme and what has changed since then that now needs to be included?

  • Ie. You have added a new van pick-up to your programme and now need to include another pick-up point to your health and safety documentation.

Ask your staff for feedback on what you could improve to make another staff member’s ‘first week’ that much better.

Individual or Team Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What KPIs are your staff measured by? By having goals, you are driving a culture of growth and instilling purpose within your staff members. Deloitte study titled "The Rise of the Social Enterprise,” quotes that companies who instill a strong sense of purpose are more likely to attract and retain top talent.” 77 percent of respondents in their global survey said, “They are more likely to work for a company if its purpose is clearly articulated, and 79 percent believe that organisations who prioritise purpose have a better record of attracting top talent." Your staff are building impressionable connections throughout the running of the programme and with parents. If putting KPIs in place can help to retain staff and bring out the best in them every day, then it’s worth giving it a try! Some examples of Individual KPIs could be…

  • Family Feedback ~ A fun way to grab feedback from caregivers could be asking families to vote for the staff member their child raves about and why each term. The teacher with the most valuable votes wins a generous gift or bonus. This can be a positive way to find outing out what your customers are highlighting as strengths in your programmes, and how families feel they and their children are being impacted. It could also be a great opportunity to find out what activities, learning methods, or games have stood out the most.

  • Child Feedback ~ A similar method could be implemented with the children with the purpose of gleaning information on what is working day to day and what’s not. For instance, a child may share that Jenny the teacher high fives them every day at after-school care when they say goodbye. This could be an idea that all staff are encouraged to do, as it has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the business.

  • Communication KPIs ~ Another idea could be to implement a communication app between staff and parents or have a booklet for each child that is completed by staff each week/month that tracks child development/progress/milestones/achievements or activity. Staff could be assigned particular children each week or term to write about and must keep this record up to date as a KPI.

Examples of what Team KPIs could be:

  • Retention tracking ~ Setting goals with the wider team on how many new families you are wanting to join the programme next term could be a positive team driver. Ways that you could support a KPI like this could be having an open book policy around who is leaving the programme and why - ensuring all team members are aware of customer churn reasons and how this could be improved. You could share the news about who has indicated to start the programme soon and which families have younger siblings, empowering all team members to make extra special efforts with families to make them feel welcome.

  • Health and safety standards: KPIs around completing daily health and safety sign-off sheets could be implemented to ensure that the different staff rotations are all aware and successfully performing safety procedures. The idea around executing this as a team-based KPI ensures that all staff members are aware of and adhering to the health and safety policies, not just team leaders.

Ongoing Professional Development

What professional development schemes do you have in place for your loyal staff members and how often are you creating the space for this development to occur? Harvard Business Review article titled "Why People Really Quit Their Jobs" by Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg: "When employees feel that the organisation is investing in their learning and development, they’re more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay. In fact, in a 2018 study, we found that learning and development is the most important driver of engagement for millennials, who will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Organisations that invest in their employees’ development not only improve their workforce, they also build a reputation as a desirable place to work, attracting top talent in the process." It is proven that across many industries, putting in place intentional professional development opportunities positively impacts the business. Professional development ideas could be…

  • Endorsing first aid course participation ~ While this may seem obvious and boring, a first aid certificate benefits the business by ensuring parents that their kids are in high-quality care and also adds to the employee's Batman belt of personal qualifications.

  • Supporting the annual attendance of a kids' activity trade shows or conferences.

  • Providing the finance for staff to attend a new class or course each term, such as a STEM activity to broaden their own skills or creative flair.

  • Enforcing regular reflection practices ~ Have staff review and complete reflection on their skills, achievements and progression around weaknesses they are working on.

Team Sessions

The Journal of Early Childhood Research states that, "Regular team meetings were found to provide opportunities for staff members to discuss and reflect on their practice, which led to improved collaboration and communication among staff members, ultimately resulting in better outcomes for children." Reflect and re-imagine what the impact of a purposefully led team meeting could do for your team and business. Discuss vision, instill values, and create a space for connection that develops a sense of belonging and loyalty. Create an environment within your team meetings that encourage collaboration, prompting staff to glean knowledge, information and ideas from each other. Ideas that could add value to your team meetings could be;

  • Adding a fun factor to your sessions ~ Run a Paint & Sip evening or attend a sports game together, even including a small ice-breaker game into the first five minutes of your meetings could just make it that much more engaging.

  • Include food ~ Provide a morning tea, afternoon tea, or go all out at a restaurant. Eating together helps to break the ice and keep the troops happy.

  • Request collaboration and input ~ Run team sessions prior to the start of the term where all members are required to bring education ideas for lessons, child-development research, feedback from families or kids, and activity ideas that could be implemented across the term. Or provide briefs for your weekly/fortnightly team meetings that enable staff to prepare items to bring for discussion.

  • Create problem-solving opportunities ~ Call impromptu team meetings to discuss current issues that are happening in the business to foster collaboration and problem-solving. Or within existing team meetings, create opportunities for other staff to share ideas and input solutions for problems that exist. This could be done in a fun way, like running short ideation/brainstorming modules.

Valued Staff = Happy Staff = Happier Kids = Awesome Programmes! As you can see, investing in staff has a significant impact on the value that your business delivers to families. Get started today!

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