My goal and mission for you as an Early Childhood Leader of a Center or School is for you to have the support you need so that you can have the work-life balance you deserve. One thing I learned in my ten years of owning and operating my own center, was that you need the right people (teachers/staff) to ensure you can be supported as the Leader and Executive that you need to be.
And what I ended up creating and not knowing is what I now call Brand Ambassadors, instead of Staff. And if you want to be able to be alleviated from the need for you to constantly have to be On-site for your center/school to run efficiently in your absence, you too will need to STOP attracting staff and START attracting Brand Ambassadors.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
I will never forget when I had a teacher to tell me this story: She said she would cash her check every week (this was before the days when we did direct deposit..LOL), and one time the bank teller ask her “Is this a great place to take your kids?” And the teacher said she sit there talking to the bank tellar for about twenty minutes talking about how great of a person I was to work for, how much I cared about the children and families, and on and on.
This is a Brand Ambassador! They are staff that:
- See and believe in your vision and mission
- Not only want to work for you but WITH YOU
- They naturally tell others about your center/school because they genuinely have a sense of pride to be a part of something so special
The difference between a staff member and a Brand Ambassador is that a Brand Ambassador is going to be loyal to you. And this is why you want to attract such candidates into your culture.
How to Attract Brand Ambassadors?
To attract Brand Ambassadors, you must first have the right elements that create a culture that a quality teacher like this, would want to be a part of. These elements when paired together will always attract the right candidates that will fit right into your culture and will deter the wrong person away.
When describing what kind of staffing structure would attract quality candidates, I always like to use the analogy of a plant.
These Elements Include:
Element 1: Mission-Driven Culture (Soil)
The first element that has to be considered to be healthy is your “soil”. Your “soil” is kind of life the soul of your business. It’s your WHY, and this why is embedded throughout everything that you do. And with that, is embedded through each and every person who works for you. This is a Mission-Driven Culture, and if at any time this “soil” gets contaminated, it will spread in the other areas of your staffing structure.
Element 2: Strong Management (Roots)
The Second Element that must be in place is strong leadership and management. As an Owner that starts with you and then stems off into anyone who has a management role at your center/school. These people must be strong leaders, as they set the tone for everything else underneath them.
Element 3: Loyal Teachers/Staff (Stems)
The Third Element is your current Teachers and Staff. They are like the Stem of the plant that helps everything that else has something to attach to. The children and families depend on them each and every day to be there and to carry out the day’s plan. These are usually represented as your Lead Teachers, Assistants, Cooks, and those who may open and close your center/school. If you’re soil (Mission-Driven Culture) and Roots (Strong Leadership) is providing your stems with what it needs to grow and develop, then this will produce Loyal Teachers that want to stay with you. These are your Brand Ambassadors who go and tell others about why they love working at your Childcare Business, which makes it easy to attract more teaches and staff like them.
Element 4: Extra Support (Leaves)
The Fourth Element is extra support for your Stems and Roots. These are other staff members who are able to provide support when a teacher or other team member needs time off. These are Substitute Teachers, who have regular working hours with you as well and are a part of your team. They allow for your center or school to always ensure coverage at all times, so there is no gap in quality or support.
How to Create a Staffing Structure that Attracts Brand Ambassadors?
Creating what I like to call a Brand Ambassador Attract Staffing System is no easy task. When I created my center’s system there was a lot I had to do externally and internally. Changes had to be made to truly take a hold of my staffing issues. Here are the steps you need to take to get yours up and running:
- Assess Your Soil-What and Who is contaminating your Mission? Whatever it is, it has to go so your soil is healthy and you are able to provide a Mission-Driven Culture.
- How are you Roots doing?- Whoever you are leaving in charge must themselves have what they need to manage properly. If this is you and someone else, this may mean that some leadership training is done. And yes! Sometimes this may mean some therapy as well. Any Staffing issues that you have is stemming from what kind of management you have, and to fix these issues, sometimes you have to go deeper than you think. I know I did. And it was a tough look in the mirror at me and being honest enough to say, I needed to change my leadership style if I wanted to get the results I was looking for.
- Examine Your Stems?- What about your current Teachers who are on the front line every day? Are they being provided the nutrients they need to stay motivated? How have you allowed them to be embedded into your Mission-Driven Culture? One mistake I made was assuming that I was provided what my staff and teachers needed. But when we dug deeper as a team, I found out they needed more.
- Provide More- The one thing I learned about creating a Staffing Structure that Attracts Brand Ambassadors is that my support needed support, and I had to have a backup for the backup. So Yes this means I had to come up with a way to ensure I was able to offer flexible working culture that my staff and teachers could take advantage of any time they need it.
In Conclusion, the one thing I learned which is more relevant now than ever due to the “Great Resignation” we are facing is that days are over where people are willing to sacrifice their family needs or their own needs for a company. And taking care of your people and providing a culture that can be felt and seen to a new candidate is the only way you will attract quality these days.
If you would like my assistance in helping you assess how your current staffing structure aligns with one that will attract those Brand Ambassadors, then I invite you to a Book Your FREE Discovery call where I can get in the weeds with you, and give you some clarity of what your next steps needs to be.
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