Leading Change with Child Paths can be scary concept for many business owners, it’s a step from the safe traditional methods to the future where everything is based on the web. However You will find that once you introduce Child Paths to your creche you won’t look back. We’ve put together a quick guide to leading change in your educational setting for the good of each individual child you care for.
With more and more pressure put on the childcare industry, something needs to happen to relieve some of the pressure. Child Paths is part of the solution when it comes to paperwork, cutting down on costs, communicating with parents but mainly for you it’s about spending more time with the children instead of performing tedious admin costs. Child Paths will help you work quicker and smarter so you can capture, store and showcase more of your excellent work to parents and inspectors.
Once the Owner/Manager is enthusiastic about the change, he or she is advocating there is a much better chance others will be. Child Paths will be a big change to your setting, and with all such changes, you need to be clear you understand the benefits and value it will bring so you can reinforce that message to your staff. In order to help you do this you need to have a change agent. This will be the person on the ground who will manage the change in your company, whether it’s you, your Manager, your Team Leader or a staff member who is good with technology you need somebody to be the champion of Child Paths, so they monitor, support and assist everybody. If you don’t have the time, you need to delegate this responsibility to one or more people otherwise you reduce your chances of successfully using Child Paths.
You may find some resistance to change due to a fear of technology. Reassure your staff how the changes will benefit them. By showcasing the future, that will emerge in the result of Child Paths will help them see why it’s the right decision. This might be done through the reduction of paperwork, positive feedback from the parents on the excellent work done by the staff or through linking Aistear and Siolta within the observations tool; staff will find this very easy. Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start will allow you to effectively manage objections. This process begins with setting a vision or a clear reason for the change and communicating it clearly and as often as possible. People need a good reason to alter the way of doing things. They need to believe and understand the reasons for doing it, and they need to see the potential benefits to themselves as well as to the company as a whole.
You need to have some short-term targets/goals which map the way to the result like what we recommend is
- removing the day sheets after the first week
- going live with the parents after the second week
- doing their first observation after the third/fourth week and so on
This will show clearly that the change is working. It’s done bit by bit until everybody is confident and comfortable using the software. Some staff may need extra support and time to get up to speed with the software, so it’s important to identify who those people are and offer support.
We recommend you have regular meetings and brainstorming sessions with the staff so they can all share their thoughts and what they find easy or hard. This is where your staff will help each other by sharing how they do things better or quicker. You need to ask the staff do they see themselves doing all this paperwork and more that will come in the next five years, if the answer is no, well then they need to know it’s happening now.
It’s very important the staff remain consistent in their work. Just because you see some good results early does not mean they can take their foot off the gas. It’s important they keep the same level of communication with parents. They need to ensure they’re meeting their regulatory requirements when it comes to inspections and again the Owner/Managers/Team Leaders need to reinforce this message over and over again otherwise it will end up failing. When new staff starts, make sure they are trained and supported by the staff you class as a Super User/Change Agent, somebody who knows the system inside out. Sharing experiences and processes from room to room is a good quick way of improving both efficiencies and confidence using the software. It’s extremely important to support those who are finding the change difficult and let them know you and the rest of the team are there to help anytime. The sign that Child Paths has become a success is when the change stops being a process. It becomes a core part of the business; it’s culture and your working day where it becomes natural, and everybody uses it instinctively in the new way of working without even noticing.
Micro Management, in the beginning, is critical. If you put the time and effort in for the first few weeks, your staff will be committed, confident and competent using Child Paths which will allow you go back to dealing with your day to day duties. We wish you all the best using Child Paths and remember, we’re here for you every step of the way and that includes after you’ve rolled out to parents. It’s just the beginning of what we’re creating, and we’re delighted to have you with us on this journey.
Remember this is just a guide to help give you some tips on what works when setting up Child Paths, every setting will have their own ways of doing things, just remember, we’re always here to help!