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Recently I was having a chat with a Day Nursery Owner who was asking whether it was them or whether there was something in the air with nursery personnel in general.

Intrigued I asked her what she meant and was told, “I don’t know what to do it’s like they want to fooking kill each other!”

This sounded very familiar. HR Consultants have been talking for the last few weeks about the impact that that end of September would have on our calls.

Many of my industry colleagues expected that the end of furlough and the end to the uplift in Universal Credit would led to more employee stress, more general feelings of worry and more difficult conversations at work.  Add to this that in childcare we are still tackling absences due to coronavirus, large number of unfilled vacancies, new children to settle, spaces to fill and it’s a perfect storm!

We are all shattered and the petrol crisis, threats of a ruined Christmas in the media, all lead us to being frazzled and out in public.

So what can an employer do when the staff were behaving like they wanted to kill each other? Well here’s 10 tips that can make a difference.

  1. Don’t Ignore it.  You may be the first person to ask that person whether ‘they’ are Ok today. Many of our staff are carers. They care for everyone else. Who is caring for them?
  2. Acknowledge the elephant in the room.  Ask someone whether they need a chat? Mention you are concerned that all may not be well and that you are happy to make time for you both to have a chat in the Office. If someone is silent, if someone is agitated, same solution bring them in for a chat. Ignore it and it won’t get any better.
  3. Thank the team for what they do. Working in childcare isn’t easy and thanking everyone for what they have done, are doing and will do tells them that you appreciate them and gives an example of leading from the front.
  4. Ask the team to look out for each other. Acknowledging that everyone is working really hard and that we all need to look out for each other and it can be a very useful to remind everyone to #bekind.
  5. Locate opportunities for team building activities. Can a staff meeting be turned into a team build staff meeting with the use of subtle group exercises that require the group to work together towards a common aim? If it works praise the behaviour.
  6. Celebrate the behaviour you want to see. If you have a group that is pulling together celebrate them.
  7. Make supervisors responsible. Don’t allow anyone in the setting to ignore what is happening in their rooms if it is not the behaviours you expect to see.
  8. Address the unacceptable behaviour. If you ignore it, then rather than improve it will undermine your authority with other staff.  Nip issues in the bud when they are small. Don’t be afraid to have challenging conversations. Effort today will pay you dividends tomorrow and the next day.
  9. Give constructive feedback. They may be being very ‘destructive’ in their feedback of each other, so again lead by example and show how it should be done.
  10. Plan something nice. Whether it starting to discuss Christmas plans or a popular Nursery topic that gets everyone involved, get planning something that will make everyone excited to be part of the team.

Let us know if you need any assistance by calling us on 01527 909436.