Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten launches reward and recognition program
Family-owned early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten has recently been exploring a variety of strategies to mitigate ongoing workforce shortages affecting the sector more broadly.
With 15 services and an existing employee team of almost 400, senior management is focused not only on attracting educators into the team, to meet growing demand, but also on supporting existing employees.
The first phase of this initiative has been the roll out of a new rewards and recognition program, Laneways, that launched on Educators Day, 1 September.
“The platform enables peer to peer recognition in the form of e-cards, which can be used to praise a colleague privately or in a way that is visible to the broader Sesame Lane Team,” explained Kerri Smith, Head of Sesame Lane.
As well as words of affirmation, the platform rewards staff with monetary incentives on their birthdays, in recognition of years of service and for outstanding performance.
“Our Managers have access to cards they can attach a dollar value to, so if someone on their team has done a great thing, we can send them a card and say, ‘thank you so much for the amazing work you’ve done, here’s $50’ and the amount goes onto their rewards platform,” Kerri Smith outlined.
Discounts at popular retailers, such as JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths, Coles, Myer, Kmart and Rebel Sport are available through the platform, and staff also have the option to donate a portion of any reward they receive to Sesame Lane’s chosen charity, The Pyjama Foundation.
Ideas are incentivised
At the upcoming annual staff conference, to be held in Pilpel Restaurant & Functions, Redcliffe on 16 October, staff will have the chance to put forward an idea for an initiative which will support Sesame Lane, and the ECEC sector more broadly, and in so doing, have the chance to win a new car.
The judging criteria for the prize mirrors the seven quality areas of the National Quality Framework, Kerri Smith explained.
“Staff will have to put an initiative forward, something that can make our sector and our company great. We’ll do a peer vote at the conference for the most valuable idea and that person will be awarded the new car.”
As well as reward and recognition, the platform has an underpinning focus on wellbeing, with content that encourages healthy eating, exercise, budgeting and more.
The platform was developed following staff surveys and the elements included are based on direct feedback from the team, which is then used to continually evolve the offering.
Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten also pays for staff members Blue Card renewals, First Aid and CPR training, annual flu shot, and uniforms.
Managers and Area Managers are encouraged to treat teams to regular morning teas and lunches to support morale and promote a sense of belonging, Kerri Smith shared.
Fully funded professional development opportunities and up-to-date training courses are available to all staff members through The Learning Lane, a personalised online learning hub exclusive to employees.
“We also have a Bachelor of Education (Primary and Early Childhood) Scholarship program and currently have several staff completing their bachelor under scholarship while also working at the same time,” Kerri Smith said.
A number of Sesame Lane staff have expressed that without the financial support offered through the scholarship, further tertiary study would be out of reach.
“The ECEC sector is really struggling with a shortage of staff, and with more centers coming on it makes it more challenging. Looking after and rewarding our staff is something we’ve always done well, but we’re stepping it up a notch,” Kerri Smith said in closing.
To learn more about Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten please see here.