Regardless of the size of your business, staff are typically your most expensive asset. After pensions, NI contributions, training costs (the list goes on!), it’s easy to see how typical estimates put the cost of employees at 60% or even 70% of total business expenditure. Inadequate hourly funding rates and increasing costs mean that nurseries across the country are having to make difficult decisions about their future, so here we explore some of the ways you can keep staffing and recruitment costs low.

1. Recycle previous applicants

A cost-effective way of recruiting for new staff is to look at previous applicants for the roles you’ve advertised. Are there any candidates who narrowly missed out on a job offer? If so, you could consider them for a new vacancy. Similarly, if you’ve made an offer to someone who has turned down a job with you in the past, it may be worth catching up with them to see a) if anything has changed or b) if you can remedy what put them off the first time around.

2. Introduce EYFS software

Using EYFS software such as Footsteps is a great way to limit the time practitioners spend outside of the room. If you pay to have staff cover for those who need to cut and stick of photographs, or are racking up overtime costs, then EYFS software is ideal! Once up and running, your team can get straight on with doing their observations on a tablet or iPad, without needing to leave the room.

3. Make sure your staff are cross-trained

A workforce which is trained to perform a variety of different roles will enable you to make changes without it affecting your ability to deliver services to parents. Rather than pigeon-holing staff into tasks they can and can’t do, make sure your team is cross-trained in different areas as much as possible. This will maximise the efficiency and productivity of your team, as well as being great for their individual CVs.

4. Start a staff referral scheme

Your existing staff are a great resource to bring new talent into your business. They may know friends or contacts who would be ideal for the role you’re advertising for. Offering a small gift or incentive for successful staff referrals can help keep your recruitment costs low. This is much more cost-effective than outsourcing to recruitment agencies, who typically charge between 20%-30% of the first year salary.

5. Rethink your job descriptions

Have you advertised a role you just can’t seem to fill? It could be that a dull job description is putting candidates off! Make sure to review the wording of any job adverts which are failing to entice candidates. Read up on how you can add a bit of extra zing into the wording (without being misleading) or ask someone who you know is great with words to inject some sparkle into it.

Keeping staffing and recruiting costs low is possible, but sometimes you just need to think outside the box and get creative in the ways you go about it!

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