Hey, you guys! Welcome to the IOwnADaycare blog. I am your coach, Andrea Dickerson. For today’s blog post, I want to talk about the lack in your follow up. How does the follow-up impact your childcare business, your staff performance, and your staff retention? In today’s training, I want to talk about how solid documentation must include regular follow up.
Here is the catch-22. In childcare, we can get overwhelmed and so busy that going through staff performance is something that could be time consuming. You can feel like there’s no result from it. You’re trying to figure out how do I drive the bus, work the kitchen, cover staff, do payroll, do my CEO tasks, and still make time for performance reviews?
One thing that I encourage childcare business owners to do is to create a calendar of events. On your calendar, in your master calendar, you go through documenting dates and times when you’re going to do your performance reviews. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to do each and every person’s performance review on that day. Give yourself a week to let this be the week of intentional performance reviews. Give yourself time on your calendar to make it happen.
As a matter of fact, in my productivity kit, I place this on my checklist where I can check off during this time of the week. This is when I’m going to make it a priority to include my staff in my trainings in my program. The way I include them is through observation. The way I help my team grow is through regular follow-up on what I’ve observed.
A manager informs Bob about his performance deficiencies and gives him a step-by-step improvement plan. Sounds familiar, right? Documentation is solid up to this point. Unfortunately, Bob continues to struggle for the next six months. The manager fails to document any follow-up conversations or efforts made to assist Bob. Now the manager wants to terminate Bob.
In this example, we are able to read that there has been a step-by-step performance that the manager did with Bob. She told him step-by-step what to do, gave him the improvement plan, walked away, went back in her office, and continued to run her childcare business. Although the documentation is solid, unfortunately, her staff member continues to struggle in this particular portion of the business for a period of time.
Now the manager feels like this staff member is completely insubordinate, doesn’t want to follow any of her advice, and fails to have any follow-up conversations or efforts to assist Bob. Then she goes in the classroom. She does a follow-up. She says things like “Well, I thought we went over this. I told you before that this is how we do our diaper change. This is how we wash our hands.” The manager, the director, the business owner gets to the point where she’s frustrated. She decides to terminate the employee.
Number one, the documentation is incomplete. Performance reviews, performance standards, and documentation requires follow through. With our schedule being so busy, you want to put this on the calendar even if it includes a Saturday, or after-hours performance review. You want to make sure that you make time to ensure that your documentation process is complete and that you’re ready for execution.
When I struggled in this area with my business, it was the basic thing such as employee write-up documents that I realized that I had to keep prepped and ready. Unbeknownst to me when I first got started in childcare, this is going to be a disciplinarian process that I would have to implement in my business more often than not. When I realized that, it became clear to me that there are some things that I have to prepare in my business so that I can execute even though I feel as if I don’t have much time.
Throughout this example and scenario, we see that the fall-out happened when the documentation was not complete as far as initiating a follow-up program. What you want to do now is to think in advance about what type of follow-up program will I give to my performance appraisals? Will I give a follow-up 24 hours later, 1 week later, or 3 weeks later? Think about it, ladies. Think about your follow-up. Any judge, jury, or plaintiff who was representing Bob, the example client, will assume that the manager put Bob on notice, yet did nothing to ensure that he was getting assistance. This falls clearly in an unemployment claim.
In my book, Diaries of the Childcare Boss, I talk about where I’ve lost claims due to my failure to follow up and document what happened during this follow up, proper documentation with site coaching sessions and discussions. It also states reasons as to why Bob responds to you by not meeting his goals and efforts that you set to help. Also, proper documentation will document that Bob knew he could be terminated if he didn’t shape up. This is what I call a two weeks’ notice. Your two weeks’ notice can be given to your team members to make them aware that if there is an area of this documented performance that is not met, or your expectations are not met, that it could lead to termination.
Bottom line, at the end of the day, your documentation must be consistent, accurate, state facts, include the employee’s explanation, and show all the efforts that the manager made to help this employee succeed. Sometimes we have to take loss. Sometimes, employees are human beings that just don’t want to step up to the plate and do what it takes to do their very best. Either way, your role in this documentation process is to make sure that you follow up. Be consistent. Don’t write up one person for behavior that you ignore in others. Be specific. Poor documentation is an example of poor leadership. Be sure that you document who, what, when, where, and how so that it’s clear.
For example, an employee was late twice in the past two weeks. Instead of saying the employee was late twice in the past two weeks, make it better by being very specific. The employee was 30 minutes late on September 28th. The employee was 45 minutes late on October 4th. The employee was 30 minutes late on November 1st. When we begin to be this specific, it holds the team member accountable. You are a particular person about the details. Also, it lets your onlooker or employee know that you are clear and factual. Note that policy or procedure was violated. Date the document. Include the year. Avoid emotional content like I think, she’s a whiner, very unproductive, and drawing conclusions about reasons, it’s probably because of her divorce. Never give a person emotional content inside of their performance appraisal.
Be very clear and very specific as to dates, times, what happened, when. How did it happen? Ask the employee to sign and date the document. Explain to them that it’s going in their personnel file. If the employee refuses to sign, note that on the document. My encouragement for you is to take the headache out of your performance reviews by learning how to be successful and how to conduct yourself during your performance review.
I believe that there’s a productivity tool that I offer inside of my JumpStart Academy 16-week program. My JumpStart Academy 16-week program is designed to help you with the proven tools and wisdom to adjust the tool to meet your specifics and give you the confidence in order to execute the system and strategy. Register now to become a part of my 16-week JumpStart Academy program. Click here. I’ll give you a call. I’ll discuss with you my style of coaching. I’d love to hear what concerns you have. I’ll give you an idea of what we can work on together during these 16 weeks and help you shift your business to the next level. All right, to be more effective in your childcare business, let’s learn how to better prepare, execute, maximize, and be more effective in your employee performance. Click here.