Once you have her…how to keep her.
For every employer having a great employee is good, having a great happy employee is even better. If you have a nanny…you are an employer. Keeping your nanny happy often translates quite simply into …keeping your nanny. Having a great nanny stay with your family for a long period of time means less stress for you (less training, less instructions, less time searching) and often it is means less stress for your kids (consistent loving bond, less anxiety, less fear of abandonment, deeper relationship)
Here are a variety of practical everyday things you can do to help keep a really great nanny (or any employee for that matter) happy:
- Pay her what she is worth. Pay what you can afford – You get what you pay for.
- Do NOT continually add non-childcare related jobs that were not initially negotiated
(imagine if that happened on a daily basis to you at work, “oh and can you vacuum the board room, and can you take out the garbage, and can you clean the toilet…”)
- Say THANK YOU. If she goes above and beyond, notice and let her know you appreciate it.
- LISTEN – Ask her how her day was, ask about the kids, ask about HER, find out how things are really going. Don’t stop listening if it’s not all happy happy news.
- Be respectful, support her in front of your children. Look for ways to visibly support her efforts. You are on the same team, work together…establish the same ground rules, routines, and discipline techniques. The more consistent you can make things for your kids, the easier it is for everyone.
- Be CLEAR from day one about expectations. Write things down if you have to. If something is important to you (No TV, no sugary snacks, bedtime is 8…exactly) say so clearly. Most nannies can’t read minds.
- Schedule meetings, and set aside time to talk about how things are going. Have those meetings even if things are going well. This is good preventative medicine and it keeps the lines of communication open.
- Offer raises or bonuses for a job well done. Reward great work. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Some ideas; Give you nanny a paid afternoon off , in kind bonuses (if you own a beauty salon offer her a free manicure), give her a raise after three months (50 cents an hour more is better than nothing) buy her movie passes, buy her flowers, invite her and a friend over for a meal one night, write her a thank you card, invite her to birthday parties and large family events (but do not pressure her to attend), Make enough coffee in the morning so that she can have a cup, take some great pictures of her and the kids…frame one, ask her if there are any memberships that could make her job easier (science world, the aquarium) get one, if she is looking for extra work…recommend her to your friends.
- Make sure she has what she needs to do her job (good stroller, bus fare, snacks available, Science World membership) This can be a stressful area if you are not forthcoming with petty cash and your nanny is not rolling in the dough.
- Let her know she can eat with the kids. Most families do open their pantries to their nannies. If this is okay with you make sure she is aware that this is something you are fine with.
- Deal with situations quickly, fairly and directly – If something is not going well DO NOT let it fester. Always ask for more information. There are always two sides to every story be sure to approach all problems proactively…look for the solution
90% of the nannies that I have interviewed say that their absolute favorite jobs have been with families who have treated them as if they were actual family members. Being treated with love and respect is their number one reason for staying with a family for an extended period of time. Over 90% of the nannies I have interviewed say that their absolute least favorite thing (and the most common reason for early termination of contracts by nannies) is when they feel disrespected professionally, when their efforts with the children are undermined, contradicted or left unsupported by their employers.
The three top qualities that Nannies list as being the most desirable in a family are; Good ability to communicate (clearly and regularly), openly appreciates the work that is being done, doesn’t add on more and more jobs or overtime but respects the written contract.
A truly great nanny is a real treasure. She can make your day go smoother, lighten your daily load and add love, inspiration, quality education and appropriate stimulation into your children’s day to day activities. Once you find your perfect nanny….take the time and make the effort to treat her with the care and respect she deserves. Your kids will learn by watching you how to treat people, and your nanny will treasure her job and your family all the more.
– Nanny Recruiter for Nannies on Call.