Let’s do a quick exercise. Close your eyes and think about the last time you were a customer. Was it a good experience or a bad experience? Do you think the person providing the service made or broke your experience? Do you think that person enjoys their job?
Now that you’ve thought about it, how does your staff feel about their jobs and how do their feelings reflect on your before and after school program? Their attitudes toward their job will impact how they serve the community. If your staff is stressed because they are juggling too many things, it will show to parents and community members. If your staff love their jobs, that joy will shine in the community. So, how do you ensure staff are happy?
Listen to Your Staff
Take some time to speak with your staff and, if possible, check with them once a week. Things change week-to-week and having open communication helps you learn about current issues. Be open to criticism. It would be wonderful if they only had great things to say about you and your program, but negative comments can spur improvements.
Give Staff the Right Tools to do Their Jobs
As you listen to your staff, you may learn that there are some tools that your staff require to do their jobs more efficiently. Encourage feedback on current tools and what new tools are needed. Providing the right tools will help your staff feel important and a valuable part of the program. This confidence increases their happiness and helps them achieve great things.
At Eleyo, we have the rule that at least 80% of what we do, we should love doing. Every job is going to entail something we may not enjoy, but it should only be a small percentage. If you have site staff that love interacting with the program’s families and vice versa, keep those site staff in that role. It’s that interaction that makes both the staff and families happy. If you have some site staff that don’t necessarily like family interaction, what other areas could the program use their talents?
Each person should know what their actual job is and what is expected of them. Write out a job description (if you don’t have one already) and have criteria that you can measure a staff member’s performance against. If you need to create a performance review or update a current one, Child Care Lounge provides a great example of an Employee Performance Appraisal on their site.
We all know that pay and benefits help make staff happier, unfortunately, that may be an area that you have very little ability to change. You’ll notice a difference in staff happiness when you listen, provide the right tools, the right roles, and the right amount of performance feedback. The happier your staff is, the happier your families and communities are!