4 essential things great nannies look for in a job
It depends on the nanny, of course, but there are certain things that will be attractive to most professional nannies and encourage them to stay in a role long term.
Clear, open, and respectful communication
Set things up to succeed from the start with a clear job ad and a friendly but thorough interview process. It’s essential for a nanny to understand your family’s needs and values, as well as the role and duties expected. Be upfront about the schedule (and any flexibility you anticipate needing!), the employment type and pay range, and the day to day responsibilities. As you get to know the nanny, make sure you let them in on any particular challenges you want them to support your family with and any preferences you have for how particular jobs are done.
At the same time, you want to make sure the communication goes both ways. An experienced nanny, or any diligent worker, will really appreciate the opportunity to have their voice heard when it comes to things that affect their time in your household. They might have experience that leads them to be able to make suggestions on a change to a routine, or they might want to discuss a shift in duties as the job changes over time.
As the employers, you are ‘the boss’, but a nanny who feels respected in the way communication happens, and who feels like they can speak up where appropriate, will be more likely to feel comfortable in a role and stay with a family for longer.
A safe and appropriate workplace
Sounds reasonable doesn’t it, for a worker to have a workplace they feel comfortable in? The reality is that the nanny’s workplace is your family’s home. No one expects the home to be impeccable, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’re not leaving unreasonable mess from family time for the nanny to deal with when they come to work.
It’s in the nature of most nannies to straighten things up as they move through the home, even if it’s not specifically part of their duties. But you don’t want there to be obstacles that make it harder for them to do their jobs. It’s a lot easier to get kids ready for school or morning activities if last night’s dishes are already in the dishwasher… that can be dealt with in a quiet moment later in the day!
You also want (and have an obligation to) make sure there are no unreasonable safety hazards for the nanny or the children in the home. Chemicals and sharp objects should be stored out of the reach of children, and you should keep basic supplies for first aid in the home. Let your nanny know early on if there is anything in particular they need to watch out for – every household is different.
Some degree of autonomy
This is something most nannies really appreciate. When you hire a nanny, ideally you are choosing them because they have the experience, qualifications, and/or attitude to fill the role successfully. There’s an element of trust that comes with welcoming a nanny into your home, and this builds over time.
As parents, you will no doubt have ways you want things to be done in your home and with your children. Some of these will be non-negotiable. This is completely reasonable and to be expected. But there are likely many things that you can let the nanny have autonomy over. This might be the specific activities they choose to engage in with the children or when in the day they choose to get the household jobs done.
Tip – if you have made plans for the nanny’s day (perhaps a contractor is arriving and they need to let them in, or maybe you arranged a playdate), let the nanny know ahead of time so they can adjust any plans they’ve made. Even when it might not be obvious, there is a lot of planning that goes into the way a good nanny does their job.
Legal pay and fair working conditions
Nannying is a job, as much as those who choose it love it. Like any job, there is an expectation for legal pay that meets (or exceeds) minimum expectations. This is where we can help! We have experience in making sure that the requirements of the Miscellaneous Award are met while still allowing nannies to be as flexible as the job requires. Paying your nanny, your employee, involves withholding tax, paying Super, and providing the required leave.
In addition to the legal minimums required by Fair Work, the nanny industry has its own standards. Experienced nannies are likely to be extremely adaptable to meet a family’s needs but they will also have certain expectations around pay and conditions. Understanding these will help you offer a role and ongoing employment that will be likely to attract and secure an exceptional nanny for your family.