The Top Ten Reasons Why Nannies Leave a Position: Reason #1
Professional Hiring Tips for Keeping A Great Nanny:
Once you’ve found a good nanny, and she and your child have formed a healthy relationship, you probably want to keep her as long as possible. But sometimes a nanny decides to leave unexpectedly. This is can be very unsettling for a family, especially for the children. If a nanny has an obvious reason for leaving, such as graduating from college, the family usually sees this coming and is prepared for it. But sometimes nannies don’t give the real reason why they leave, mainly because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Here are some common, preventable reasons why a nanny might choose to leave:
Reason #1) The family is consistently late coming home at the end of the day.
It is likely that your nanny truly loves your children, but after a long day she’s ready to go home to tend to her own life. A nanny with a stable personal life tends to enjoy her work more and perform better. Good nannies arrive on time, and they expect parents to arrive home from work on time. I’ve interviewed nanny candidates (who are not with our families) but who come to us seeking a nanny position because their employers are consistently late arriving home from work. They love the children they for, but are deeply hurt that the parents show up late at the end of the day with no excuse, sometimes carrying shopping bags or wearing gym clothes. Nannies often don’t express this, and the parents are simply unaware of the nanny’s feelings.
Don’t assume your nanny wants to stay later without pay.
Because the nanny obviously loves their children, parents sometimes make the assumption that the nanny welcomes the opportunity to stay later without notice (or extra pay) just to help out. Nine out of ten times the tardy parents are good, hardworking people who are just trying to squeeze a little personal time into their over scheduled workday. But intentionally or not, the nanny may feel that her dedication to the children is being exploited.
A nanny may have poor assertiveness skills.
In most circumstances that I’ve seen, the nanny expressed her feelings to the family in a shy and tentative way, and the family didn’t take her concerns seriously. Sometimes her tentative communication style is the result of being raised in a different culture that prizes submissiveness and respect for authority rather than assertiveness. The nature of the childcare position itself also contributes to weak assertiveness skills, as many good nannies have consciously chosen a lower paying career where their accomodating personalities are valued. They haven’t worked in competitive business environments and developed the assertiveness skills necessary to pursue the issue firmly enough to get the parents to change their behavior. The nanny is afraid of creating a conflict with her employer, who will someday provide an employment reference. So she keeps her feelings to herself and quietly begins seeking another position. It’s my experience that by the time the nanny has taken the emotional step to come to us looking for a position, she has made up her mind to leave.
The sad fact is that some families never know the real reason that their nanny left. When we place a nanny with one of OUR families, we are firmly committed to the nanny staying with our family for as long as possible, and if one of our nannies comes to us with this issue, we will help her communicate her concerns if she’s unable to. It is always preferable for the nanny to go directly to the family without our help.
Build contingencies into hours and pay.
We want the nanny to stay in her job with our family for as long as possible. It’s good for the children; it’s good for the nanny; it’s good for the parents; it’s good for our business. This is why I stress to all of our families at the beginning of the search process that it’s important to arrive home on time and maintain a consistent schedule as much as possible. If you’re going to run late due to meetings, traffic, etc. this contingency needs to be built into the nanny’s schedule at the start of employment, and include pay, so that if you are running late she’s prepared to stay a bit later and knows she’ll be compensated for it. Keeping your good nanny long term is one of the best things you can do for your child’s healthy development. To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.