It’s no easy task to deal with problems that arise with your daycare employees. Whether you’ve been in the childcare business for a few years or a few decades, you’re bound to come across a problem with an employee, or even a problem employee. Knowing what to do in these scenarios is critical to the well-being of your Early Childhood Education team and your business as a whole. That’s why we put together the following guide with practical steps you can take to address a problem with your daycare employee. Read on to find out more.
Address a Problem as Early as Possible
When a problem comes up with one or more of your daycare team members, be sure to address it as soon as possible. Many childcare directors find themselves in the unfortunate situation of watching an employee with a problem turn into a problem employee right before their eyes. Unresolved problems spell bad news for your daycare business. When team member issues go unaddressed, the problematic behavior can get out of hand, your team can suffer a blow to their morale and question your ability to lead, and your daycare as a whole can decrease in quality and productivity.
To avoid the downward spiral of runaway problems, make it a priority to address situations as they arise.
How is the best way to address a problem with your employee? Have a conversation with them. Let’s take a look at a few practical steps you can take to make this a productive experience for both parties.
Focus on the Behavior, Not the Person
When you meet with your employee to discuss your concerns, keep the focus of the conversation on the problematic behavior and your commitment to helping him or her resolve it. By keeping the conversation on the issue at hand, you show your employee that your goal is to attack the problem, not the person. This strategy can help diffuse tension and keep the employee from becoming defensive.
When you focus on the behavior, not the person, you show your employee that you and they are on the same team.
Identify What Is Really Going On
Most of the time, there is more to a problem than meets the eye. It’s your job to try to understand the full picture of what is going on behind the scenes with your employee. What may look like laziness to you, for example, could actually be major burnout and a lack of motivation on your employee’s part. What can you and she do to reduce the overwhelm and reignite the fire she lost for her position? Getting to the root of the problem involves asking the right questions and listening to what your employee has to say.
Asking clarifying questions and listening attentively can help you identify what is really going on.
Be Receptive to Constructive Criticism
As you work together with your employee to figure out what is really going on, you may be surprised to learn your employee may be unhappy with some aspects of his or her job that relate directly to you. Whether it’s your policies and procedures, your management style, or the work culture you have created, your employee may very well have a lot to unload about the way you run your daycare. Now, you certainly do not have to agree with everything or anything your employee tells you, but it’s important to be open to feedback because maybe there are some things you could be doing differently.
It takes a lot of guts for an employee to acknowledge a problem that, from his or her perspective, originates with you. At least consider what your employee has to say and reflect on whether you could use the feedback to make improvements.
Come up with a Plan, Together
Now that you have addressed the issue and identified what’s really going on, work together with your employee on a plan of action. The purpose of you addressing the issue is obviously a need for it to change, so make it clear that you expect things to be different going forward. Come up with a plan that both of you are clear on. Emphasize your willingness to help your employee achieve success as much as you can, and also help them recognize their personal responsibility to change. End the meeting by scheduling a time to follow up.
When you work as a team to come up with a plan, you set things in motion for positive change.
Whenever a problem of any kind arises with your employee, be sure to write everything down. Make detailed notes about when the problem began, how and when it was brought to your employee’s attention, what plan of action you decided on, and the outcome, or resolution. Documenting everything helps you remember the specifics about the situation and protects you as the employer if things reach a point where you decide to take more drastic action, like job termination.
Keeping good records is an essential part of the problem-solving process!
Follow up and Follow Through
Finally, be sure to follow up with your employee after the issue is brought to his or her attention. Meet again to discuss your observations of any improvements or repeats of the problematic behavior. Modify your plan of action if necessary and remind your employee about the role each of you has to play in resolving the problem. Also, follow through with consequences you have communicated to him or her for non-compliance with the plan of action. Whether it’s ineligibility for a job promotion, a formal written warning, or even job termination, it’s essential you back up your words with actions to resolve the problem as needed.
When you follow up and follow through, you increase the chances of successful problem resolution and demonstrate strong leadership.
It’s difficult to have a tough conversation with your employee. We hope these practical steps will help you address and solve employee-related problems before they get out of hand.
Honest Buck Accounting is a full-service accounting firm dedicated to helping childcare business owners take control of the financial side of their business, optimize their accounting processes, and increase profitability. Schedule a call with us to learn more about our professional financial services.