Annual nanny reviews do more than give nanny employers an opportunity to give their nanny a raise; they provide a much needed opportunity to evaluate the health of the working relationship. Each year, parents should schedule a time to meet with their nanny and hold a formal year-end review. The review should provide both verbal and written feedback and should end with updating the nanny and employer work agreement, should both parties wish to continue their working relationship.
If you’ve been wondering why year-end reviews are so important, here are 5 of the most important reasons:
1. Annual reviews provide a forum for employers to give their nanny valued feedback. When you see a good friend every day, it’s hard to notice if she’s gained or lost a few pounds. But when you stop and consciously consider her appearance, or compare older photos to new ones, you’ll more than likely notice any change. The same is true with nannies and employers. Life is so busy and the handoff of children happens so quickly, parents don’t always take the time to stop and reflect on how their nanny is doing with things both big and small. An annual review forces parents to take inventory of their nanny’s performance and to provide feedback, both good and bad.
2. Annual reviews provide an opportunity to develop a game plan. As children grow older their needs change. Babies become toddlers, toddlers become preschoolers, preschoolers become elementary school students and as such, their needs and the rules for providing for those needs may change. An annual review provides an opportunity for parents and nannies to discuss upcoming developmental milestones and impending life changes, and develop a game plan for handling them.
3. Annual reviews set the stage for reassessing and regrouping. From tackling potty training to communicating with each other, sometimes nannies and parents feel like they’re surviving, rather than thriving. They’re doing what it takes to get by and they’re well aware that change needs to occur, but they haven’t had the time or energy to sit down, reassess and regroup. An annual review sets the stage for talking about what’s working and what’s not, and provides an opportunity to get everyone back on the same page.
4. Annual reviews open the door to ending the working relationship. While nannies and parents may fantasize about being together forever, children eventually outgrow the need for a nanny. While it’s sad to have a conversation about ending the working relationship before that time comes, the annual review is a perfect opportunity for parents to outline their long-term care plans and for nannies to outline their employment plans. While it’s unrealistic for parents to commit to their nanny for several years, they can let the nanny know that it’s their desire and plan, barring any major life changes, to continue employing a nanny until their youngest child starts kindergarten, for example. As such, nannies can let the parents know that they envision staying with the family as long as they’re needed or that they plan on moving on once the children reach a certain age. Most nannies and parents who have a healthy relationship prefer to devise an end plan together. Keeping the conversation on the table allows them to do just that.
5. It allows for renegotiation. Perhaps your nanny’s responsibilities are changing but you haven’t had a chance to update her work agreement or adjust her compensation. Maybe your nanny would like you to consider a new employment benefit, like paid professional days off and her International Nanny Association conference registration fee paid for, but hasn’t had the opportunity to ask. Each year parents and nannies should revisit their written work agreement and be sure it is current. Written addendums should be made, if necessary, to reflect an increase in compensation or a change in duties or responsibilities. An updated agreement or an addendum that allows for the continuation of the agreement should be signed by both the nanny and parents.
For nanny and employer relationships to succeed, open and honest communication is essential. In addition to an annual review, nannies and parents should schedule time to meet on a regular basis, either monthly or weekly, and should make it a point to have a brief check-in chat either at the beginning, during or at the end of each day.