We typically hire several people and give them the same job title…for example, Child Care Worker. But does this mean that every one of these people should be doing the exact same tasks? Probably not.
While all should be able to care for the children, each staff member has a special skill or talent that others do not have. A great manager will take advantage of this for two reasons:
- the children will benefit from this special skill and
- the staff member will get great pleasure/satisfaction from using this skill.
Let me give you an example. You may have a staff member who loves to sing, and sings very well. While singing may not be in anyone’s job description, it certainly adds joy to everyone’s day and makes the staff member happy to make everyone happy. She will feel more satisfied at the end of the day.
Another example is a staff member who can be called an “eagle eye” – nothing gets past her! Her special job is to watch for anything that comes into the center that might be dangerous or inappropriate. This skill is invaluable.
So, should every employee be recognized as having a special person / someone who has a special ability? Well, think about that. What if you have 10 employees and 6 of them have special jobs. Those six people will be walking around with a level of pride for being recognized as special. (By the way, I would use the word “special”.) How would you feel if you were one of the “other 4”? I guess the answer is – NOT special.
My recommendation is, and my belief is, that everyone is special – and hopefully in a good way. If you are stumped as to what is special about a particular person, I’d have to wonder why you hired him/her. Regardless, be assured, everyone has a special quality. So, to uncover it if you are having trouble, try these tips:
- Spend an entire day really focusing on that worker. Watch for the special skill.
- Ask coworkers to identify that person’s special skill.
- (This one is so obvious) In a casual conversation, ask the worker what is her favorite part of the day. Prod a little to get some good details. Then, watch her work the next day and see how (if) she shines when doing that task.
One caution: don’t just make something up so that everyone has something after their name. That’s kind of insulting and will negate the whole exercise. The special job has to be something that:
- the worker is really, really good at doing
- the worker really enjoys doing (so, if the worker is great at changing diapers, is might not per her favorite task)
- the task is something that is really essential to the success of your center
- you can honestly say that this is a special recognition for this special skill
Never miss an opportunity to let everyone shine at your child care center!
Check out our webinar on Motivating Staff.