Common Mistakes Made when Hiring a Nanny
We at Elite Nannies On Call help Families hire their “perfect or near-perfect” Nanny on a daily basis. As such, we feel that with our knowledge and expertise, we can counsel our Families to use “Best Practices” in hiring the best suited Nanny in order to ensure a happy and productive Nanny placement. Here are some common mistakes we have seen Families do that lead to miscommunication, poor performance, and eventually resignation or the firing of a Nanny who has already been introduced, placed, and worked in the home. Besides due diligence in making sure the Nanny Candidate is the right one for your Family, following “Best Practices” keeps an open line of communication and emphasizes the Family’s role as an employer.
- Not offering the local nanny rate: Hiring a nanny is expensive. Offering below the market rate not only makes it harder to find the perfect fit, but it also leads to frequent turnover as the nanny leaves for a better paying position.
- Inadequate checking of references and background: Failure to speak candidly to a candidate’s references about your job and their experiences with the candidate has led many a family to make a hiring mistake. This takes time, and this is one step you do not want to take a shortcut in.
- Poor Communication about Wages and Taxes: Many nannies (and domestics in general) hear and understand the salary offer as a take home pay. You need to clearly communicate all wage issues, including overtime, up front when hiring. Address her hourly wage and overtime compensation; this is the law. Miscommunication on compensation can and will hinder a Family/ Nanny relationship.
- Disagreement on Childcare Style: Talk about this topic immediately up front. Ask the nanny about how she disciplines. Clearly articulate your philosophy and ask her for feedback. Inconsistency in discipline and childrearing philosophies is not good for your children, and you will not be happy with the relationship long term.
- Failure to Provide Training and Orientation: The new nanny does not know exactly how your family operates. A family needs to spend adequate time – from several hours, to several days, to train the new nanny just as it would have been done at any other new job accepted by a new employee.
- Unrealistic Expectations for Housekeeping Help: Parents often have to higher expectations of their nanny. They reason that their child naps a few hours every afternoon and the nanny should be able to use this down time to take care of all of the housekeeping chores. It IS realistic to expect that a nanny will leave your house in the condition you left it. Unloading the dishwasher, emptying the full kitchen trash, and cleaning up around the high chair are all realistic expectations. It IS NOT realistic to expect the nanny to spend the hour or two that your child is napping cleaning bathrooms, doing the parent’s laundry, mopping floors, etc. A nanny typically works in a very isolated situation, with little adult interaction and no meaningful breaks away from work. She needs some time in her 9 or 10 hour day to sit down, have a cup of tea, phone a friend, or in some manner take a break before resuming full childcare responsibilities.
- Hiring without a written Contract: A clear and concise work agreement will spell out all the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, including hours, duties, benefits, and wages.
- Micromanagement: This is common with families with new babies, and families hiring their first nanny. It is perfectly legitimate to articulate your expectations to the nanny, and to request that she maintain a nanny diary. It is unreasonable to expect her to have your baby napping from exactly 9:00 – 9:45 and 1:00 – 2:15. Tell her what you need done, and if necessary how you like it done, and then give her the free-way and flexibility to order her day to accomplish what you expect.
- Failure to Pay for Holidays and Days the Family is on holiday: A full time nanny should expect to receive her guaranteed base weekly pay all 52 weeks of a year, whether you need her for all or part of a week or not. Nanny should only be docked for days when she is absent (sick, car trouble, whatever the reason) and there is no flexible leave time (paid time off) available. And remember, pay day should never be delayed – if you will be gone on your nanny’s pay date please provide her pay in advance.
- Issues Transporting Your Children: If the nanny is required to use her personal vehicle for work purposes, you need to reimburse her. The nanny may be reluctant to use her vehicle; we always recommend that families provide a vehicle for their child’s transport, including age appropriate safety seats.
As soon as you decide you would like the help of Elite Nannies On Call to help you find that RIGHT Nanny, we will help and advise you through the interview and hiring process. We as well work with you and your Nanny on a Nanny Agreement where both parties will be happy and excited to starting this wonderful journey in the growth and care of your child/ren.