How to Show Appreciation for Your Childcare Team Without Breaking the Bank

May 9, 2022

Showing genuine appreciation for your childcare staff is one of the most important things you can do to create a great work culture and reduce employee turnover for your Early Childhood Education business. In this article, we offer twelve ideas for showing your appreciation to your daycare team that won’t break the bank. Read on to find out more.

Demonstrating Appreciation for Your Daycare Team Is Crucial

Few things in life are less motivating than a thankless job. Have you ever worked for a boss who had no idea what you contributed to his or her company through your skills and knowledge, hard work, and long hours? Chances are, if you’ve ever had this experience, it’s one you won’t want to repeat.

Most childcare business owners want to show genuine appreciation for their employees’ hard work and dedication, but they aren’t sure how. We hope the following ideas will inspire you to find tangible ways to thank your childcare team for their efforts. Demonstrating your appreciation for your team is crucial because it helps you:

  • Create a work environment where everyone feels appreciated and recognized for their efforts
  • Give employees motivation and encourage them to stick around, reducing turnover
  • Equipping your team to better serve the children and families who come to your daycare

Take a look at the following ways you can show appreciation for your childcare team without breaking the bank and implement several of these ideas with your own team.

  1. Recognize an Employee of the Month

“Employee of the Month” recognition has been around for a long time because it works! Acknowledge the hard work and dedication of one of your top performers by featuring them in a special way for the month. You could make an “Employee of the Month” bulletin board in your staff break room, introduce your star employee on social media or in your parent newsletter, or give recognition along with a gift card at a team meeting.

Speaking of gift cards…

  1. Give a Gift Card

Yes, you will need to spend some money on this type of reward, but it can be a very effective means of showing your appreciation. Giving a gift card to an employee (or several) who has gone above and beyond in his or her daily job performance can be a much-appreciated token of gratitude. Gift cards for gas or groceries, restaurant or retail gift cards, or an Amazon gift card make for great gifts. You don’t have to eat away at your business budget with large monetary values or make cash payments with tax implications. Gift cards can be a win for everyone!

  1. Celebrate Birthdays and Work Anniversaries

Many people appreciate a little extra attention at important milestones in their lives like birthdays and work anniversaries, so make a point to celebrate them together as a team. If you know an employee who doesn’t care for individualized attention, consider doing a monthly celebration and recognizing all birthdays and/or work anniversaries on your team for the month. Get a cake, order pizza, give a hand-written birthday card…there are lots of ways to acknowledge meaningful days for your staff members and let them know they are important to you.

  1. Bring Your Team Together with Food

Food is always a great way to bring people together and shower them with appreciation! Make an effort to treat your childcare team to something special every now and then—bagels or donuts for breakfast, pizza or subs for lunch, a team lunch out at a restaurant…you don’t have to go crazy, but even an occasional food-focused gathering to say, “Thank you!” can lighten things up and instill goodwill in your team members.

  1. Host a Work Party

Expanding on the idea of food bringing people together, why not consider hosting a work party for your employees? Plan a holiday party, a summer barbeque, a fall potluck or any other gathering you’d like to show your team you value them and want to spend time with them outside of your employer-employee relationship. Don’t stress about handling everything yourself either! Invite your daycare team to contribute ideas, party supplies, and food…chances are your team members will enjoy planning a fun event and would be happy to set the wheels in motion to make it happen.

  1. Write a Handwritten Note

There is something personal and meaningful about a handwritten note of appreciation for a job well done. Recognize the hard work and dedication of an employee by writing a thoughtful note and giving it to them in person or leaving it for them at their desk or work locker where your thankful words will find them on another busy work day.

  1. Offer a Meaningful Incentive

What kind of reward do your employees find most meaningful? Is it something you can grant on a one-time or on-going basis? For example, maybe an employee would appreciate an extra day off. If you want to express your gratitude toward that employee, consider offering an extra vacation day for his or her efforts. A team survey may help you figure out what kind of incentives are most meaningful to your employees.

  1. Plan a Team-Building Experience

Cultivate team spirit and show your employees you care about them by planning a team-building experience. Group outings or activities like a city tour, escape room, obstacle course, scavenger hunt, motivational speaking event, or anything that is meaningful to your team can be a great way to get to know and appreciate each other better and create a great team culture. A company retreat is another great option.

  1. Provide Volunteer Opportunities

As you yourself know, childcare providers are some of the most giving people out there! Channel your team’s caring spirit by providing volunteer opportunities that mean a lot to your staff. Host a holiday food drive at your childcare center, plan a day to volunteer together as a team, or even offer rewards for volunteer hours your team members put in on their own time. There are lots of ways to give back to the community as a company, and you can show appreciation for your staff’s efforts by partnering with them in making a difference.

  1. Give Professional Development Rewards

For team members who really are your stand-out employees, don’t be afraid to show your appreciation through professional development efforts. Write an enthusiastic recommendation on your team member’s LinkedIn profile, provide access to additional training, certification, and/or professional conferences, or give mentorship opportunities to your star performers who demonstrate a desire to go further in their Early Childhood Education career. Taking an interest in the professional development of your employees can be a much-appreciated way to show your thanks.

  1. Value Your Team’s Input

How can you include your childcare team on decisions you make for your ECE business? Especially for business decisions that will impact your staff, consider opening the floor to team members’ feedback before you announce a significant decision that has already been made. Of course, you are free to listen, agree, disagree, modify, or adhere to your plans, but when it’s possible to include your staff, they will certainly appreciate the value you place on their input.

  1. Say, “Thank You!”

It is worth saying that one of the simplest and most important ways you can show appreciation to your daycare team is by saying, “Thank you,” sincerely and regularly. If your employees don’t hear you express your gratitude for the job they do on a regular basis, then a gift card or a pizza lunch given occasionally probably won’t have the same impact on them as it would if they felt appreciated by you every day. For some of us it may be easier to communicate appreciation verbally than it is for others, but your efforts will go a long way in demonstrating to your team that you do see them, acknowledge them, and care about them.

We hope these ideas will be a great starting point for showing your childcare team how much you appreciate them!

The Honest Buck Accounting team is thankful for the opportunity to serve outstanding Early Childhood Education businesses like yours with comprehensive financial services. Schedule a call to find out more about our professional accounting services.

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