When it comes to recognizing the job their nanny performs for their family, many parents will provide money, gift cards, and/or a homemade gift from their children. Thoughtful gifts from the heart will always be appreciated. But, as a childcare professional, your nanny may enjoy several ways you can improve their work environment. This could lead to higher job satisfaction and a nanny who will stick with your family rather than look to move on to their next gig.
That saves you from the hassles of hiring and training a new nanny.
If you have a great nanny, you’ll want to do everything in your power to keep them. With that in mind, here are seven ways to show appreciation for your nanny.
1. Put a stop to job creep
Look at your work agreement and assess the current duties of your nanny. Have you been adding non-child care tasks? If so, stop and keep them in their role as caregiver. Add new responsibilities only if mutually agreed upon and update your work agreement. You may want to consider a raise for your nanny if they start taking on additional obligations like caring for a new pet.
2. Be spontaneous with your appreciation
Spontaneous gifts for a job well done – perhaps it’s some extra time off or you come home early from work to give your nanny the afternoon off – will always be welcomed. Even simple, kind words can turn around a bad day and will go a long way to boosting your nanny’s job satisfaction. Perhaps offer to let them leave early one day with pay because of their flexibility when your work schedule was crazy.
While not necessarily spontaneous, a year-end bonus, typically one week’s pay, or a holiday gift are also appreciated. Consider a small gift and/or something handmade by your children to recognize your nanny on their birthday and job anniversary. But, again, don’t feel like you need to wait for a special occasion to show your appreciation.
3. Improve your communications
Set up a regular schedule to communicate with your nanny. Have a daily check-in when you get home from work or have your nanny leave a log of their day. Once a week, have a longer discussion about how the job is going, concerns they or you may have, what’s going on with the children, and what may be coming up (starting potty training, learning to read, etc.).
Some ideas to try and improve communications with your nanny include:
- Leaving your nanny a list of tasks or “to-dos” for the day
- Laying out your house rules (screen time, junk food, etc.)
- Tackling problems as soon as they arise
- Listening to your nanny as much as you talk
- Having a single focus for every conversation and not piling on your complaints
- Picking your battles so you stop nagging
Keep those lines of communication open to clear up any confusion and make your nanny feel like they have a voice. In our 2019 nanny survey, 73 percent of nannies said “open and honest communications” was what they wanted most from a family.
4. Recognize the schedule demands of the position
When you hired your nanny, you set their schedule in the work agreement. Even it’s not the same days and hours every week, you should be clear on when your nanny is expected to be at your home ready to work. Be upfront and honest with your nanny about the potential of a changing schedule and try to give them as much notice as possible if you need to alter their work hours. You may want to consider guaranteed hours so your nanny doesn’t lose pay if you need them for fewer hours during a week. But don’t be surprised if your continuously changing schedule forces your nanny to leave your job for a more stable situation.
5. Stop micro-managing their work
When hiring a nanny, you’ll want to find a caregiver with a personality that fits your family as well as a similar child-raising philosophy. You’re also hiring a professional who may have different experiences and learned techniques from working with other families. Give your nanny some freedom in how they do their job. If your children are safe and happy and your nanny is reliable and engaged, then minor differences in their caregiving approach are not worth creating a negative environment. According to our 2019 nanny survey, having the respect and trust of their nanny family was cited by 61 percent of nannies as one of the top things they like about their job.
6. Pay your nanny legally
Paying your nanny legally will give you peace of mind and you can avoid costly fines and penalties for breaking the law. You may be able to do this yourself, use your accountant or find a payroll service. If you’re doing nanny taxes and payroll yourself, consider setting up regular electronic deposits into your nanny’s bank account. That way they get paid on time every pay period. A nanny payroll service will offer direct deposit, time tracking, and automatic tax withholdings to make payday easy.
For your nanny, they get a verifiable income and an employment history. Both are important when applying for a loan, credit or mortgage. They can also file for unemployment benefits if they lose their job through no fault of their own. You and your nanny are also contributing to their Social Security and Medicare accounts.
7. Provide benefits
Consider offering affordable health care benefits, which can also provide you and your nanny some tax savings. According to our 2019 survey of nannies, just 15 percent of nannies say they get health benefits through their employer. Offering health benefits not only is a great retention tool for your top employees but can separate your job from others when looking to hire household help.
Make sure your pay continues to match or exceed the going rate for nannies in your area who have similar experience and skills. Vacation time, paid-time off, and sick days are basic benefits most nannies receive.
A good time to revisit your nanny’s benefits is during their annual performance review. While this is an opportunity to set goals for the year, talk about personal job growth, look at areas of improvement, and understand ways you can help improve their job performance, you can also assess benefits and compensation and adjust as necessary. If you have a great nanny, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep them on the job. It’s less disruption for you and your children. Offering a competitive benefits package will go a long way to retaining your best employees.