Suffering from high staff turnover? Here’s some tips to keep teams engaged
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Suffering from high staff turnover? Here’s some tips to keep teams engaged

Suffering from high staff turnover? Here’s some tips to keep teams engaged

by Freya Lucas

February 28, 2023

High staff turnover is not only disruptive to early childhood education and care (ECEC) teams, it can also lead to challenges for children, and impact on enrolments when parents notice that many staff are leaving and withdraw their children from care, fearing a bigger concern. 


Making sure that employees are engaged and happy, HR consultant Stefanie Camfield said, is key to stemming this tide. Thankfully there are steps leaders can take to do right by their employees, keep workers engaged, and set their teams up for success.


Ms Camfield’s top tips for employee engagement and satisfaction are listed below. 


Set clear benchmarks for performance


One mistake employers often make, she began, was failing to set performance standards for individual employees. When performance measures are absent, it makes termination difficult, and should termination occur, makes employees more likely to believe they were terminated for unfair or discriminatory purposes. 


“It’s easier for employees to improve their performance when they know how it is being measured and what they need to do to be successful,” Ms Camfield said. 


Employers, she continued, must not only set performance goals but also regularly check in with employees to review progress. Regular performance reviews ensure that an employee is aware of their progress in meeting the goals. 


Making an employee aware of any deficiencies before being subject to discipline can empower them to take action to improve their performance. Employers can also offer additional support and training to show that they want to help the employee be successful.


Have policies and apply them consistently 


Policies and procedures are a core part of many ECEC services for regulatory purposes. To make sure that all workers are treated fairly, employers need clear documented rules, and then implement them justly. 


This means that policies must be implemented consistently for all employees, and that policies should be written in clear and simple language that is easy to understand, complying with relevant legislation at both state and federal level. 


Invest in professional development


Research shows that employees are more likely to be happy at work and stay in a position long term when they feel like their employer is invested in their individual development and success, and that they have opportunities for growth in the company. 


Some ECEC organisations have a ‘career ladder’ which shows clearly defined pathways, and lists of the required education and experience needed for different positions. 


Promotional programs should provide information for employees on the specific skills and certifications they need in order to progress. This makes it easier for employees to identify their potential career paths and track their progress toward potential promotions. As with any policy, career paths and leadership programs should be implemented equally and be made accessible to employees in a nondiscriminatory manner.


Ensure policies are empathetic and flexible 


While policies need to be consistent, they also need to be empathetic and flexible, and attempt to accommodate employees with policies that have a variety of needs. 


Life happens, and sometimes there may need to be an exception to a rule, like 24 hours of notice being given for leave. 


For more tips on employee engagement in an ECEC context, please see here

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