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It’s no secret that child care management software is key to a top-notch early education program.
Parent communication, automated payments and meal tracking are just a few key features that make your child care business a little easier to run. Today, though, there's one particular function we'll zero in on: staff management.
Rather than chasing down your employees when accommodating time off and balancing your staffing ratios, good child care management software lets you keep and manage everything all in one place.
Purchasing software is a big leap for your child care center. And if this is your first time introducing digital scheduling tools into your operations, your team may be a bit hesitant to pick up these new tools.
Why should they use a new scheduling system if the old one works just fine? What’s wrong with the way things have been done for years?
It’s a natural response, after all. Change is hard. But once you get the whole team familiar with your new child care management software, you'll find your day to day operations working more smoothly than ever.
So how do you get everyone on board with your new tools?
Let’s take a look at how you introduce your new digital tools to your staff, and help everyone make the most of all these functionalities.
Before we get to how you can pitch your new management software to your team, let’s run through all the benefits it brings your child care business.
As a child care manager or director, digital staff scheduling tools can save you from manually filling out paperwork. If you’ve ever struggled through a stack of forms, you know how much of a time sink these administrative tasks can be.
For your staff, digital tools can allow everyone to keep all the day's critical info in one place. Whether they’re looking at their upcoming schedule or quickly submitting time-off requests, your new platform helps your team save their time and energy for more important things.
For you and your staff, flexibility is everything. Rather than posting schedules in the office at your early years setting, or planning vacation time on paper, digital staff scheduling tools can allow you and your staff to stay up to date, no matter where you are. Whether they’re on the bus, or sitting on their sofa, your staff are able to easily coordinate their schedule without having to remember to come in and fiddle with a clunky white board or a paper calendar.
As a manager, balancing each staff members’ availabilities and vacation days can get demanding. Digital systems can make your life easier by ensuring that everything is up to date at real-time, without having to post countless updates. You'll get rid of confusion about who's working when, or in which room.
For your staff, poor organization can be detrimental to their job performance. If they feel that their time is not being respected, that can become a source of dissatisfaction. Using software solutions can allow them to request time off or submit sick days without having to chase you down. This is a small, but meaningful, function for your staff to help remove some of the mayhem from their lives.
As the manager or administrator at your child care center, you can frame these digital systems as something you’re adapting for your team's sake, to enable and support your staff best. Everybody wins when your early education setting is organized!
If a complete stranger told you that tigers make good housepets, it’s highly unlikely that you would believe them. Similarly, it’s unlikely that your staff will want to follow your footsteps if you haven’t established any trust with them.
Before jumping into any big changes – and not buying any tigers – you should first ensure that you have established a trusting relationship with your staff. When those in your early years setting have faith in you, it makes implementing changes much smoother, as your staff will trust that you will be there to resolve any conflicts or imbalances that may occur with the change.
Granted, this isn't an overnight process. But as you're working to implement new child care software in your own early education program, you should keep these tips in mind:
Along with their trust, your staff will want to understand why you want to switch to a new staff scheduling function, especially if they feel that nothing is wrong with your current processes. In comparison to child care management software, those old pen-and-paper forms seem clunky. But if that's what you're used to, that familiarity counts for something.
To address this, you can start by sharing and explaining the benefits of making the switch, just like we listed above: How you can use it as a parent communication tool, how automated payments simplify fee collection, or how attendance tracking make morning drop-offs more organized.
Here, you should think about your child care software from the perspective of your classroom staff. Where does it connect to their day-to-day duties? What gets easier, faster, or less confusing?
You may also find it helpful to share how the new scheduling function will benefit yourself, but also your staff members. Explain how using a digital staff scheduling function will save you time, so you can spend more time in classrooms with the little ones. Plus, this new function can ensure that your room ratios are correct, and staff members receive their well-deserved requested time off!
So, when and how can you have this conversation with your staff?
They may be a bit resistant to the change if they’re simply told you’re making the switch to a new function, and then are expected to adapt to it on their own time.
Especially if you've never used child care software at your early education program, your team might not be wild about learning the ropes of some new tech platform. These conversations are a great chance to get through those digital anxieties, by exploring your platform together. Help your team get used to the user interface, help them install it on their own mobile devices, and talk about when and how you can use it throughout the day.
And if you have a dedicated meeting to introduce it – perhaps with some yummy treats – it may be easier for staff to feel like this is a change you’re making for their benefit. This way, you can demonstrate that you’re making the time to work through the change together, clear up any misunderstandings, and invite questions on a running basis.
Here's an idea: A great way to encourage open and honest communication with your staff is through an anonymous vent box! This gives them the opportunity to share their honest feelings, without fearing being called upon at your next staff meeting.
These days, staff retention is tough. Every child care director and administrator is thinking of more ways they can help their staff feel supported, appreciated and enabled.
But, when framed in the correct way, you can make these digital tools a big part of how you support your staff, which helps to make their demanding job a little easier on them.
Here are some ways you can support your staff by implementing digital tools:
It’s possible that not every one of your staff members will be eager to jump on board with the new staff scheduling function right away.
If this is the case, invite your staff to ask you questions and share their concerns. As their leader, you’ll want to encourage open dialogue and communication to make them feel heard.
Without having the opportunity to share how they feel about a new change, your staff may not feel valued in your early years setting, potentially leading to other issues. Additionally, your staff members may share something with you that you didn’t think of before, which may help with the transition to a new staff scheduling function.
It’s crucial to ensure that your staff members feel supported and listened to, so they can do the same for your little ones!
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.