Seeking appropriate childcare for your family is one of the most important tasks you will complete as a new parent. You will obviously want to choose high-quality providers for your child, but it is challenging to do so independently. Many parents turn to childcare staff agencies, and they are much happier with the results.
Why Use A Staff Agency
Many parents have good luck using local advertisements, references, and word of mouth to hire childcare staff. This method works well for them, so it may seem that there is no benefit to using a staffing agency. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Some great hires do come from these activities, but so do some terrible ones. Some of the worst hires are due to the lack of support that comes with the staffing agency and their knowledge of care standards. Here are a few things that using a childcare staff agency can do for your family or business.
Takes the Guesswork Out of Credentials
Let’s face it—education is full of acronyms, buzzwords, and cryptic credentials. Most applicants will be honest, but some people who want to work in childcare or who have experience with no credentials will lie. These people are not always harmful, but not having the appropriate credentials can mean that crucial safety standards, health needs, or legal rights are inadvertently violated. No one wants accidents to happen, and noncredentialled individuals are not always aware of all of the training and safety precautions that should be taken or why.
Background Checks Done
As a parent, you can pay for a criminal background check on each potential hire, check references, and verify educational status, but that’s costly and time-consuming. Additionally, verifying educational background can get tricky when dealing with privacy laws. However, staffing agencies have already taken these steps. You know that the people you are hiring are already vetted for the position. Likewise, when hiring individuals without a staffing agency, we sometimes think it’s okay to skip one of these steps. The applicant seemed knowledgeable, so there was no reason to ask for official transcripts. Unfortunately, this is how disreputable people gain access to trusting parents. We don’t want to believe that anyone has ill intentions. When it comes to your children, skepticism is not only acceptable but also recommended. Trust no one with your child’s well-being.
Broader Reach for Background Checks
Agencies also tend to be able to conduct national or international checks for nannies or childcare providers. These background checks can also check systems that report neglect or abuse in childcare settings. These are not always reported to law enforcement if no laws were found to be broken. Likewise, getting national background checks rather than state or local can begin to cost hundreds of dollars quickly if you are checking into several potential providers. This step has already been taken care of by the agency, and since they have a broader reach, you can be sure that the candidates did not flee one state to start over in another with a deceptively clean record.
Likewise, you may think to check education, legal, and employment history, but who wants a terrible driver responsible for transporting their children? Agencies can pick up these background checks where individuals fall short. We sometimes forget to check particular histories or are limited access to the systems. Using the agency eliminates this problem.
As parents or small businesses, contract negotiations can be frustrating. You may not want to spend the time trying to hire legal teams to ensure that contracts are binding or ethical. However, agencies have already taken care of this. They act as advocates for their clients (parents) and their staff (childcare workers). It is in their best interests to keep negotiations fair to both sides to ensure their success. Contracts with these agencies tend to be fairly standardized, allowing parents and businesses to relax since they aren’t responsible for negotiations.
When you work with an agency, you are protected by guarantees and the contracts negotiated on your behalf. If there is a problem with a provider, you have recourse and advocates to help arbitrate any disputes. Finances and security are also generally protected in these contracts and are more stable with an agency. If you lose a person suddenly without agency representation, you could spend hours and thousands of dollars completing a second or third search. However, you would be protected, and agencies can often send a replacement or temporary replacement immediately so that your personal finances and time are also protected.
Preliminary Interviews Ensure Qualified Candidates
When you are searching on your own, you are limited to the applicants who notice your advertisement or who may know someone you know. You do not really know if these candidates are qualified. However, by working with an agency, you find that the quality of the candidates improves because they have already taken care of this process. Working with the agency takes a step out of the process for you. You don’t have to know all of the childcare lingo to ask during an interview. You can ask questions to ensure that their personality and demeanor work for you because you know that they already have the qualifications. The preliminary interviews at the staffing agency took care of that portion. Some agencies may also allow you to interview the candidates with a representative present to ensure that you ask the questions that confirm quality childcare knowledge.
Because you have taken the initiative to get high-quality childcare staff, they are more likely to stay longer. Quality staff with quality contracts tend to be more stable. They do not change jobs frequently and are often seeking the same protections as you. They want to know that the family or business they are working with will be professional and have high expectations.
Expectations Are Clear
When hiring childcare staff in any capacity, expectations are one of the keys to longevity and positive relationships. This sentiment is true no matter the business. Staff and supervisors who do not have clear expectations and consequences will not find satisfaction in the employment relationship. Parents without clear expectations often struggle to know if the childcare staff is performing to their highest potential, or they don’t have clear evidence for evaluating performance. Likewise, when the childcare staff encounters parents without clear expectations, they often struggle to find their footing. They don’t know what the parents want, so they miss cues or signs of things that would improve the relationship.
Additionally, the childcare staff’s expectations should be clear. Staff who do not know what they want or need often feel dissatisfied with the parents, but the parents weren’t aware something was missing. Parents and childcare staff need to have their expectations clearly outlined from the beginning and notify one another of changes to their expectations. This step will make working relationships better. With a staffing agency, there is someone there to help each of these parties figure out what they expect and how to get it.
Expectations Can Be Higher
Since the expectations are clear and parents know they are getting quality childcare staff, they can also have higher expectations. People will rise or fall to your expectations. With a staffing agency, both the parents and childcare staff can raise their expectations for the relationship. When both groups have high expectations, they will often see that the other will exceed even those. Furthermore, if the expectations are unreasonable, a mediator can give parents or childcare staff tips on what is reasonable and how to achieve those goals.
Additional Duties Can Be Included
Parents seeking childcare staff for their families are not generally looking for a babysitter only. They want people who are experienced in child development, household, and classroom management. Childcare staff may also perform minor housekeeping duties if they are full-time employees. However, it’s not just housekeeping that parents may be seeking. They may want someone to provide tutoring services for school-aged children. Staffing agencies can narrow searches to ensure that childcare staff is qualified to help with the school-aged curriculum. If this person is taking care of preschool-aged children, they may also be seeking someone to help with the prekindergarten curriculum. These providers will have experience teaching in schools or preschools that use curricula similar to the local school system. In ideal pairings, they will have experience in the local schools.
Full or Part-time Staff Needs Can Be Met
Sometimes when doing a private search, it seems all of the candidates want one type of employment or the other. It also seems that they all want part-time when you are seeking full-time and vice versa. Staffing agencies keep a pool of qualified applicants looking for a variety of opportunities. Overnight childcare staff is often hard to find, but parents working overnight hours can often find the staff they need by using an agency.
Are There Negatives to Using an Agency
We have talked about all of the benefits of using an agency, but you are probably wondering what could be the negative? If it’s all sunshine and roses, why would anyone choose to do a personal search? The positives do far outweigh the negatives, but there are a few things that parents aren’t fond of with agencies.
Agencies do have costs. They do not operate for free, and you can spend more weekly than you would pay the same childcare staff without the agency. You are paying for their staff and yours through your fees. However, the fees can be minimal considering how many things they handle regarding appropriate staffing.
Sometimes staffing agencies are strict with their requirements. While this means that staff is of the highest quality, it does limit the pool of qualified candidates. You must consider, however, that the quality of the candidate is of utmost importance.
Using a staffing agency to find quality childcare staff is critical for parents and businesses alike. It can take the headache out of the search, and there are minimal negatives associated with agency placement. Consider using a high-quality agency to meet your childcare staffing needs.
To add this benefit to your company/organization, please reach out to Nannies & Kids United at (770)284-6090 or [email protected]