You’re running a daycare center. Your staff is already working a 12-hour day.
At 6 p.m. they are looking forward to calling it a day. However a few parents still have not picked up their children by the close of business.
Your staff is getting is frustrated. And no wonder.
The problem of late pickups has been festering for a long time.
The owner of the daycare center has the solution. “We will start fining parents for pick ups that are 15 minutes late on an escalating scale. Maybe that will change their behavior.”
But the fines failed to change the parent’s late pickups. Why?
The situation needed more leadership and less management.
Childcare is no ordinary pay-for-services rendered business model.
Customers (parents) chose a daycare facility for much more than as a baby-sitting service. The customers (parents) commissioned the daycare center as stand-in parents for their children, stewards of their children’s lives and well-being.
They sought virtual missionaries — not mercenaries — to protect and provide for their children when the parents had to be at work.
Their business relationship was based more on love than money — on a mutual concern for their children– rather than on a cost/benefit analysis of the viability of the business over time to changing customer behaviors.
So how do you get the parents to comply to the 6 pm close of business policy: Refine ’em. Don’t fine ’em.
Don’t fine bad behavior. Incent good behavior. Pay for performance not conformance, performance sustained over time not simply for conformance retained for a short time.
Instead of tasking them with a fine, ask them for their help in maintaining quality childcare.
Write a letter to parents focusing on your mutual interests — the children.
Demonstrate your businesses commitment to continue providing —and retaining — the most qualified staff who develop and maintain meaningful relationships with your children that nurture their growth and well-being in our care.
Confirm your intention to provide high-quality care in those emergency situations that prevent you from picking your child up by 6 pm. But I need your help in making sure we sustain our commitment to you for continued quality care and our commitment to our staff to demonstrate our appreciation and support for their professionalism.
That’s why I am asking you help me retain our quality in our childcare professional staff. In those few instances when circumstances prevent you from picking up your child/children at the close of business at 6 pm., I am sure you will agree, our staff should be additionally compensated for their additional services. For your convenience the surcharge ( $X per late pickup ) will be listed on your invoice. My hope is that working with you we can avoid any additional charges for the privilege of serving you and your children in the most cost effective manner.
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