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Today’s blog is an extract from an article I have written for Nursery Management Today magazine which will be published in their Nov/Dec edition. Please look out for it when your copy drops through the door.

Demand for spaces may be high, and about to get higher, but access to quality candidates to fill Early Years’ positions is a challenge for many settings.  After all, you don’t just want anyone working in your setting, you want superstars who get what it is you are about and wake up every day determined to make a difference in a child’s life.

Our work within the profession shows us that for some settings high labour turnover is making the shortage of applicants a real problem. We understand that some providers are reporting that they have staff prepared to move from setting to setting for as little as 10p an hour difference!  High labour turnover causes demotivation amongst the team, impacts the quality of practice, confuses the children and can lead to parents challenging management about staffing.  For other settings, labour turnover is low, perhaps too low, and recruitment is a rare opportunity. When it is necessary to hire, the challenge is to find individuals who will fit in with a close, highly stable, and established team.

When hiring superstars there are a few things you may wish to consider that don’t need blow the budget:

  1. Do I have to hire?

Big question this one, and one you should definitely ask. Just because someone has resigned, do you have to hire their replacement?  Your options could be to reshuffle the setting and move someone else into the vacant position, thus creating a vacancy that you may find easier to fill.  Promoting from within as part of a talent management strategy will always be judged favourably by the existing workforce. Perhaps engaging bank staff could be the alternative to expensive agency labour to address the short term need you have.

  1. Does it have to be these hours, on these days?

Your superstars may be have restrictions on the hours when they are available to work.  Your vacancy may be tricky to fill because of the hours or days that the previous post holder worked.   If you are open to part time staff and job shares say so, there are a shortage of part time vacancies in the UK, and the most able candidates may be attracted to leave a full time job if there is an offer of part time hours would suit them better.  You may also attract women returners back into industry after a career break.

More to follow in next week’s blog….