Navigating the pitfalls of staff management at your nursery can seem like a minefield. But, with your staff being your greatest asset (and also producing the largest cost to your business!), getting it right can have the single largest impact on your setting’s reputation, productivity and bottom line.

Here, we run through 8 tips to help you avoid an HR disaster:

  • When you interview the right person, don’t leave it too long to let them know they’ve got the job. Move quickly, otherwise you could find that your preferred candidate is no longer available to take up the position.
  • If there’s no one suitable to take on the role (even after you’ve interviewed all the candidates,) don’t just ‘make do’ with the best of a bad bunch. Not being selective about who you take on will cost your business dearly in terms of reputation and can negatively impact your team. Instead, roll your sleeves up and start the process again.
  • Be aware of employment discrimination. Any questions you ask candidates which relate to age, race, sex or religion which aren’t relevant to the job role could be illegal and you could be accused of being discriminatory.
  • Ensure someone you’re employing is eligible to work in the UK. If they’re not, the fine is up to £20,000 per illegal worker. When vetting them, only accept original documents/certificates and make copies of these for your personnel records.
  • Check you’re paying staff the correct wage for their age. If you hire apprentices, their pay will depend on the age they start their apprenticeship and will change as they get older.  The National Living Wage was introduced in April, affecting the pay of employees aged 25 and older.
  • Ensure that you have a proper process in place for your new employee’s induction. Who is going to be their ‘buddy’ and what training will they need? Organising your employee’s first week with a clear schedule will show them that their arrival has been well prepared for.
  • Challenge poor performance and behaviour in the workplace. Although it may feel uncomfortable to do so – you need to address any issues with staff promptly, fairly and reasonably so that everyone is performing to the same high standard you expect.
  • It’s your responsibility (as an employer) to make sure you have appropriate HR policies to deal with any issues as they arise; so make sure they’re reviewed and updated regularly and followed to the letter. Should matters ever escalate to an employment tribunal, ignorance is no defence!

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