How to support hesitant staff during your transition to a childcare management app

Center Name: The Eanes ISD Child Development Center | Location: Austin, TX

I opened up my office hours, I sat down next to them, and we took it step-by-step

Shannon Eastman, Program Coordinator
The Eanes ISD Child Development Center Playground

As every childcare owner, director and administrator knows, leading change at your center is hard. Very hard, especially getting buy-in and support from your educators. However, with the right strategy, you can ease into the transition slowly and smoothly. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Shannon Eastman, the program coordinator at the Eanes ISD Child Development Center in Austin, Texas, which recently went digital with HiMama. While HiMama has now improved the centers’ parent and educator experience, and considerably improved parent communication and relationships at all three of their locations, Shannon initially faced resistance in making the change. The educators at her center were not very enthusiastic about adopting a new tool.

“When we first brought it their initial response was really negative. It was just another thing they had to learn. They had done this a few times before with other programs, and seemed to have lost sight of the ‘why’ behind the change.”

Shannon isn’t alone. Staff resistance is one of the most common challenges that directors face when implementing new ways of doing things at their center. Knowing what was best for the growth and quality of their centers, and taking advantage of the effective coaching and support offered by HiMama, Shannon was able to successfully implement HiMama and has not looked back since.

“The staff actually got the hang of HiMama pretty quickly. It is very user friendly. HiMama has significantly improved parent communications, and has actually deepened the conversations educators are having.”

So, how did Shannon get here? Below, I share how Shannon implemented HiMama at three locations with resistant staff, and the positive change it has had for everyone.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF A CHILDCARE MANAGEMENT APP

  1. “Take the time to sit down with your staff, and have them go through everything first hand”. Shannon had to sit on her hands a couple of times, but the more she enabled her staff to get hands on with the program, the more quickly they realized just how capable they are and how easy it is.
  2. At the beginning, just keep reassuring them that they can’t do anything wrong”. Shannon explained that easing that fear of making mistakes was critical to their successful implementation of HiMama. With support and hands-on guidance, her staff felt free to practice and make mistakes along the way, quickly enabling them to become HiMama experts. 
  3. “Start with group training and then move forward on an as needed basis”. Shannon got everyone together as a team to learn the basics of HiMama first, then kept an open door policy moving forward to support anyone who needed additional help.
  4. “Create practice scenarios for your staff”. One of the biggest concerns that Shannon noted was that her staff were nervous of making mistakes in the program. To help them overcome that fear, Shannon created test children in HiMama, and then worked with her staff to accomplish certain tasks (such as checking in and out) in a safe environment where it was okay to make mistakes. Another suggestion could be using staff member’s children as a safe starting point! 
  5. “Take it step by step. The value will be worth the effort”. Shannon brought HiMama into their three locations right before the start of the new school year. She was able to leverage their orientation week and spend a few dedicated hours with her staff, allowing them to explore and get comfortable with HiMama as a team. She then had her staff take it one step at a time, and focus on getting comfortable with the features that were most important to them first. Once they were comfortable with the basics, they moved on to learning more. 
  6. “Leverage HiMama onboarding specialists!” Shannon had a dedicated HiMama onboarding specialist supporting them through the entire transition. To this day they still apply recommendations from their onboarding specialist on how to get the most value out of HiMama!

EANES ISD CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER TODAY

Before Shannon’s educators knew it, HiMama had become part of their daily classroom routines. The documentation coming from each classroom became more detailed, consistent, and easily accessible. 

“The ability for a parent to look back on a daily report, and refer to documentation at a time that is convenient for them, as well as not having to carry loads of paper when they are already carrying a million other things – I think that is phenomenal.”  

With open communication, dedicated training time, hands on experience, and a safe space to make mistakes, Shannon facilitated a successful transition to HiMama. She explained it took “about two weeks to one month to build a solid routine with Himama – closer to 1 month for those who are just not keen towards technology.”

Shannon shared that it required finding time in a busy schedule to make sure her staff felt supported and understood why they were doing this. But ultimately, she expressed that “it was absolutely worth it and has improved our overall parent communication.” 

Shannon has become a valuable member of the HiMama family, and is an expert educator who has led transformational change in her center; creating a more positive experience for her educators, parents and children.

“Even when we no longer have all the pandemic restraints, I think HiMama will be really important moving forward. One of the biggest things we have learned is how important those morning health checks are, not just for COVID but for all childhood illness, and how critical it is to be able to send a message to all families instantaneously.”

If you are struggling with staff hesitation at your center, do not miss out on our next webinar! On Thursday March 31st, 2022 at 2 PM ET we are being joined by two directors to discuss their journey to implementing digital communication at their center, and how they supported tech hesitant staff!

Register below!

REGISTER FOR OUR NEXT WEBINAR HERE!

The Eanes ISD Child Development Center is one of many HiMama customers who have successfully overcame staff resistance for a succesful transition to HiMama! Fill out the form below to learn more about how HiMama can help you!

Maddie Hutchison

Maddie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a Master's in Early Childhood Studies. Her specialty is in Children's Rights and she is currently a Customer Advocacy Specialist for HiMama!

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