July 30, 2021

3 Tips for Adapting to the Present Workforce

By Elise Keitz, Vice President of Operations

Hiring this summer has been tough. So many news outlets across the country—from Los Angeles Times to The Atlantic—have reported that we’re in the middle of the “Great Resignation,” which means that people across many industries are quitting their jobs at a record-setting pace. This problem is particularly dire in childcare. There are many complicated reasons for why so many are resigning from their positions, but for those with waitlists of children in need of care, this development creates a big problem.

To solve a problem like this, it’s important to get creative.

Solving this problem reminds me of a game application called Flow Free®. In this puzzle game, I can usually solve 15 rounds without issue, but suddenly the 16th will stop me in my tracks. I’ll spend minutes just staring until finally I clear the board and tell myself I must be assuming something that isn’t true. In those moments, the only way to solve the puzzle is to change my thinking.

An openness to new ways of thinking is needed for companies to solve the current employment problem. I hope these tips help you find a new way of filling your roles and finding the best teacher, Center Director, or any role you’re filling.

  1. Adapt your mindset.

Rather than approaching the search with statements like “I only want full-time teachers,” or “Employees are lucky to have a job,” approach the search with a question: What ideas or attitudes are holding us back from hiring the right candidate? Once we adjust our mindset, we will be surprised by the results.

Here’s an example: we had an applicant who could only work 3-6 p.m. each day. On the surface, this schedule doesn’t seem to serve the center or children and we easily could have passed. However, we sought to see this as an opportunity and now this employee is a rockstar at daily closing duties. She is responsible for grouping and combining, ensuring cleaning duties are completed, and communicating important information with parents during pick up. She is invaluable to the Center Director and Assistant Director. It’s important to interrogate our assumptions about what a strong applicant looks like so we can be open to new possibilities. 

2. Describe what makes your childcare center so special.

It’s an applicant’s market right now. That means employers need to show potential employees why working for them will be the right fit. In job descriptions, it’s important to explain why your center is a great place to work and what the employer can offer the employee. Educators crave community—describe why yours is so awesome.

3. Avoid empty jargon; speak from the heart.

So many job descriptions sound the same; make yours stand out by highlighting the things they will remember later. Make sure your descriptions include perks like flexible schedules, childcare discounts, education reimbursement, etc. If you don’t offer many perks, now is the time to investigate what it would take to offer some benefits. Additionally, use the job description to communicate a vision. How can you speak to a candidate’s values and offer them a place to work that furthers their causes?

The current employment challenge is not an easy huddle to navigate, but I’m confident you’ll be able to find the right candidates if you’re able to adapt your approach.