Engaging teachers and staff at your childcare business should be your No. 1 priority. It’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day details of running a company, but your employees should be your main concern.

Why is that?

Because the families look at your teachers every day as a litmus test for whether your childcare center is healthy, growing and the very best choice for their children.

According to themuse.com, 70 percent of the U.S. workforce is not engaged in what they do. Ninety percent of leadership in those businesses know they need an engagement strategy to keep their workforce happy, but less than 25 percent actually have a strategy.

In the childcare business, this can be even more difficult to achieve. Notoriously low wages for the industry — on top of licensing and education requirements — creates an uphill battle for any childcare owner to overcome.

As owners, you know your center's reputation hinges on how your teachers feel about working for you and how the parents feel about your teachers.

At Inspire! Care 360, we believe these four initiatives can make a huge impact in how teachers reflect your brand.

1. The Best Onboarding Process

When new teachers are introduced to your business, make sure their first impression is a stellar one. Implement a top-notch new hire orientation and mentoring program. It will reaffirm their decision to work as a member of your team and start them off on the right foot

2. Assign Mentors

Every new teacher should be assigned a mentor who can guide them. Learning from a peer and having a checklist to navigate the training elements is a good idea to help with retention. Did you know that only 10 percent of learning is retained by reading new hire materials? But adding an element of “practice by doing” boosts the retention rate to 75 percent. Teaching others and immediate use of the skill has shown a 90 percent retention rate, according to the Learning Pyramid from National Training Laboratories. Do you have a mentoring process for new hires? The Inspire! Care 360 New Hire Mentoring Program has been built specifically with the intention of applying knowledge for retention.

3. Health Care and Wellness

Not only are your teachers exposed to illnesses from the children they care for, it’s also more difficult for them to get time off to visit a doctor. Also, many of your employees may be part-time teachers or not eligible for major medical benefits. Consider adding a virtual health benefit for your employees. We have found it’s highly affordable — costing as little as $10 per month per employee for owners — and available to your teachers and their household members. You can explore telemedicine and virtual doctor offerings in your area or consider Inspire! Care 360 Virtual Health.

No matter which group you use, the benefits for your staff are invaluable. Word will spread quickly among teachers in the area and help build your reputation of being an excellent employer.

4. Ask Your Teachers What They Value

Employees who are informed early and often about changes to their workplace are more likely to be accommodating of changes. Use staff surveys to poll your teachers before making changes that might affect them. Take their feedback seriously and reconsider your plans if the overwhelming majority of the staff would not be happy about it.

Your teachers are the front line of your business. Keep them engaged, involved and well cared for. Your families and the community will see a visibly happy staff and know each day the children at your center are happy too!