In a recent webinar on enhancing the retention of quality staff, we were joined by Jeron Bailey, principal ECE consultant, and trainer! As a strategic ECE project manager and consultant, Jeron focuses primarily on improving retention and inclusive practices in childcare programming. She shared her expertise on how childcare centers can enhance the recruitment and retention of quality staff through culturally responsive practices, and we discussed identifying, creating, and implementing culturally responsive recruitment, retention, and evaluation at your childcare center.
Staff retention is the Number One operational challenge in the childcare industry. If you are struggling with recruitment and retention, you are not alone.
When you lose a staff member, you are not just losing that person. You are also losing revenue, morale, trust, and learning opportunities. You lose revenue because time is money, and when you have to recruit and train new team members it pulls on your resources. You also lose morale within your team as they may miss their coworkers, or even start to wonder if they should leave as well. You also can lose trust in your parent community, if they wonder what happened to their favorite educator, and this in turn can result in a lack of learning opportunities for the children as it disrupts their continuity of care. One instance of turnover affects so many areas of your center.
This is why it’s so important to hire and retain quality staff members. This involves keeping your policies and procedures up to date, ensuring all staff are trained well, and encouraging a positive and inclusive community//culture at your center.
Diversity is so important in this regard. We have inherent diversity and acquired diversity within our centers. Inherent diversity refers to things that are innate, such as age, race, and gender. Acquired diversity refers to things like education, experience, values, and knowledge developed over time. We need to look at all of these different factors.
You want your team to see you as a partner and that their voices are heard.
Anti-racism retention strategies
- Ensure wage rates and qualifications for all levels are accessible to all. Do not hide this information.
- Hold conversations to bring awareness to racism at work and create genuinely safe spaces where people can share their opinions openly.
- Utilize diverse panels for hiring, decision-making, programming directives, and employee evaluations.
- Implement transparent and systemic program evaluations that are accessible to all
4 equitable recruitment strategies to enhance retention of quality staff
- Audit your job ads. Sometimes job ads are not really supportive to all with the language used. Sometimes they’re very pinpoint, and you’re looking for a specific type of person, and it may make others feel like they’re not talking to them in this job ad.
- Target your sources. Make sure you go to the areas you want to recruit from, for example, LinkedIn, library job boards, etc.
- Encourage the diverse staff members you have on board to refer their connections to your center.
- Update your company brand and policies. When staff members get on board, you want them to find a safe space. Examples are blind resumes or interviews or using a third-party system so that you remove any bias.