Submitted by Nancy Parker enannysource.com
All nanny employers aren’t created equally. Like with any career there are both good employers and bad ones. As you enter into a nanny relationship, commit to being the best employer you can be. Remember, it is no secret that the best bosses tend to have the best employees. Begin setting yourself apart as a great employer today.
You can be a great nanny employer by:
1. Giving your nanny respect. Treating your nanny as a valued employee will go a long way in establishing yourself as a great nanny employer. More than anything, your nanny wants to know that you respect the work she does, the relationship she has with your children and the special insight she brings to the parenting table.
2. Paying your nanny well. Your nanny deserves to be paid more than minimum wage. She deserves to be paid well. When it comes to nanny care, you get what you pay for. Nannies who are paid well tend to be more committed to staying for a long-term position and to going above and beyond to ensure that their job is done well.
3. Showing your appreciation. From small things like saying “Thank you. I appreciate the quality of care you give to my children,” to bigger things like giving a year-end bonus, let your nanny know in tangible ways that you appreciate the work she does.
4. Encouraging your nanny’s relationship with your children. Give your children and your nanny permission to have a loving relationship. Allow and encourage them to bond. If your child says he misses his nanny on the weekend, don’t simply dismiss it. Instead, reaffirm that their relationship is important and missing his nanny is okay.
5. Encouraging regular communication. Set the stage for solid communication. Establish a time to have weekly meetings to review different things that are going on, what’s working, and what isn’t. Ensure that you are home a few minutes before your nanny is due to leave so you can talk about how the day went. Provide ongoing opportunities for regular communication to happen.
6. Covering your nanny’s expenses. It shouldn’t cost your nanny to do her job well. If your nanny keeps a nanny journal, offer to reimburse her for it. If she brings her lunch every day and you can afford to supply it, offer to do so. If your nanny is accompanying you on a family vacation, be sure it doesn’t cost her any money out of her own pocket to do so.
7. Giving your nanny petty cash. Provide your nanny with cash to purchase incidentals like craft supplies, snacks or other items she may need from time to time. Having money on hand for tolls, gas, lunch or other things that come up can help to ensure that the costs incurred when taking care of your child don’t eat into her pay.
8. Offering incentives for continuing education. Offer a membership to the International Nanny Association (INA) or better yet, consider paying for her to attend the INA Annual Conference. Encourage your nanny to take early childhood education classes at the local community college and offer to reimburse her. Providing an opportunity for your nanny to increase her skills and connect with other caregivers will boost her self-confidence, self-esteem and care giving abilities, all of which will benefit you and your child.
9. Scheduling periodic reviews. Whether it’s every six months or once per year, schedule a specific time without the children to sit down with your nanny and have a formal performance review. During this time share all the good things your nanny is doing, as well as any things that could use improvement. You’ll also want to give her an opportunity to provide feedback on how things are going from her perspective. End the meeting by giving her a written evaluation that includes any action steps designed to improve the quality of her work. Consider giving a merit raise (5-7%) or bonus (1-2 weeks’ pay) if your nanny has been performing well.
10. Keeping things professional. While it can be tempting to talk to your nanny about marital problems or to share the latest piece of gossip about the in-laws, don’t. If you ask your nanny to babysit Friday night and she declines because she has plans, resist the urge to ask her exactly what those plans are. To maintain a healthy nanny and employer relationship, there has to be healthy boundaries.
In any type of management situation the general rule of thumb is that things flow from the top down. If you as the nanny employer set the standard for excellence your nanny will follow suit. Great employers breed great employees. And it’s not by mistake.